Craig Robertson

Craig Robertson is the author of ten novels, most set on the mean streets of contemporary Glasgow. He’s an international bestseller and his most recent book, The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill, is about a trauma cleaner who wants to know more about the life story of a forgotten man. He has been longlisted and shortlisted twice for CWA Daggers, twice longlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year, and three times longlisted and shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize, but hasn’t won any yet. He’s okay with that. Sort of.

Saturday 6th August
Trinity Church
3pm – 4pm
“Glasgow Then And Now”
Craig Robertson & Alan Parks

Trinity Church Hall
9pm – 10pm
“Would You Lie To Me?”
Can you tell when a crime fiction author is telling you the truth? Our authors are interrogated by Craig Robertson.

Alex North

Alex North had a huge and wholly deserved hit with his terrifying first release The Whisper Man. A Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller. This runaway international hit, being published in more than thirty languages, rocketed him to the forefront of the spinechilling end of the crime genre. He followed it up with the equally unsettling thriller The Shadow Friend in which a copycat killer brings home the small-town horrors of a terrible day 25 years earlier and desperate efforts to stop it happening again.

Saturday 6th August
Trinity Church
12pm – 1pm
“Burning Issues”
CJ Tudor, Stuart Neville & Alex North

Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards is the multi-million selling author of psychological thrillers about ordinary people trapped in terrifying circumstances. His terrific number one bestsellers include The Magpies, The Hollows, and The House Guest. Always suspenseful, always surprising, his books have earned an army of fans. His latest, No Place to Run, is set in Northern California. Fifteen-year-old Scarlett has been missing for two years and when a woman sees a teenage girl running for her life across a forest clearing, she’s convinced it’s her.

Sunday 7th August
Isle of Bute Discovery Theatre
11am – 12 noon
“All American”
Mark Edwards, Alex Knight and Tariq Ashkanani

Doug Johnstone

Doug Johnstone is the author of the critically acclaimed Skelf series of crime novels set in Edinburgh. A Dark Matter, The Big Chill and The Great Silence tell of three generations of women, a family of funeral directors and private investigators. Doug has written 13 novels, including bestselling standalones such as Gone Again, Hit & Run, and The Jump, which was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Best Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Doug is the drummer for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, co-founder of the Scotland Writers Football Club, and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

Saturday 6th August
Trinity Church Hall
1.30pm – 2.30m

Chris Brookmyre & Doug Johnstone

Johana Gustawsson

Johana Gustawsson is a French author, born and raised in Marseilles, who spent many years in London but is now living in Sweden with her husband and children. She leapt to the reading public’s attention with her harrowing debut Block 46 set among the horrors of Buchenwald concentration camp. Her compelling new novel, The Bleeding, is set across three generations in her native France, beginning in La Belle Époque of 1899 Paris and leading to a brutal murder in 21st Century Quebec.

Saturday 6th August
Trinity Church
10.30am – 11.30am
“Historical Crime”
Ambrose Parry & Johana Gustawsson

Tariq Ashkanani

Tariq Ashkanani is a solicitor based in Edinburgh and a dynamic new addition to Scotland’s crime writing roster. His assured US-set debut Welcome to Cooper is an explosive thriller about bad choices and dark crimes in smalltown Nebraska. He has returned to the backwater of Cooper with the exhilarating Follow Me to the Edge which begins in powerful style with the multiple murder of an entire family, brutally bludgeoned to death in their beds, and a detective facing up to ghosts from his past.

Sunday 7th August
Isle of Bute Discovery Theatre
11am – 12 noon
“All American”
Mark Edwards, Alex Knight and Tariq Ashkanani

Alexandra Sokoloff

Alexandra Sokoloff worked for ten years as a Hollywood screenwriter. The New York Times called her “a daughter of Mary Shelley” and her books “some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre”. Her award-winning Huntress Moon series follows an FBI agent on the hunt for a female serial killer, smashing genre clichés and combating the rise of violence against women on the page and screen. Alex splits her time between L.A and Scotland with her husband and fellow crime writer Craig Robertson.

Sunday 7th August
Isle of Bute Discovery Theatre

12.30pm – 1.30pm
“Screen Test”
Michael Bennett, Helen FitzGerald and Alexandra Sokoloff

Ambrose Parry

Ambrose Parry is a pseudonym for husband-and- wife team Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman.

Chris is the international bestselling author of over 20 novels and Marisa is a consultant anaesthetist of 20 years’ experience. Her research for her master’s degree in the History of Medicine uncovered the material upon which their novels are based, and she is the brains of the outfit. Set in the medical world of Edinburgh in the 1840’s, The Way of All Flesh, The Art of Dying and A Corruption of Blood have been hailed as Gothic masterpieces.

Saturday 6th August
Trinity Church

10.30am – 11.30am
“Historical Crime”
Ambrose Parry & Johana Gustawsson

CJ Tudor

CJ Tudor made an astonishing start to her writing career with the wonderfully creepy and award-winning novel The Chalk Man, which garnered praise high praise from none other than Stephen King. The book is being made into a six-part BBC series. She’s gone from strength to strength since then and her sixth novel is the darkly suspenseful The Burning Girls. A village haunted by the legend of eight martyrs burned to death, and the secrets and suspicions of the present day.

Saturday 6th August
Trinity Church
12 noon – 1pm
“Burning Issues”
CJ Tudor, Alex North & Stuart Neville

Bute Noir 2020 | Update

We’ve some news.

It’s not news we want to send and it’s not news you want to hear. But sadly, it’s something that has become increasingly inevitable as the past month has worn on.

We are, with heavy heart, having to cancel Bute Noir for 2020.

The continuing lockdown and the probability that even when lockdown is over, some social distancing restrictions will remain in place, mean that the likelihood of us being able to gather at the end of July just isn’t realistic.

We really wish we could give you something to look forward to, it’s something we all need right now, but we need to be practical and responsible. Our priority must be the health and well-being of the people of Bute, and bringing ferry loads of visitors from the mainland couldn’t be justified in the current climate or even if things are slightly eased.

It’s so tempting to tell you the fabulous line-up of crime writers who’d agreed to come to the island this summer but that would be just piling on the agony in the style of Bullseye… here’s what you could have won. Instead, we’ll extend an invitation to all of them to come to Bute in 2021 and aim to make that the best festival yet.

We are very hopeful though that you won’t have to wait that long to see some of your favourite crime writers. We will work hard to bring pop-up events to Bute once it’s safe to do so, to bridge the gap until next year’s festival. We will, of course, give you details of those as soon as we have them.

We’re also planning some virtual events – and we’ll talk you through the technology if you need it. First up, for those of you that enjoy our Saturday night quiz, we’re planning a live online version of that featuring festival favourites very soon. Watch this space for the date.

Again, we’re sorry to bring you bad news – believe us it hurts to do so – but we thank you for your support of our first four festivals and can’t wait to see you at the fifth. So put a date in your diary for next year.

July 30-August 1 2021 – the best Bute Noir yet.

Craig, Karen, Anne and Patricia

2018 Authors

Our 2018 Authors

To discover more about each of our authors, please click on the red ‘Menu’ on the top left of the screen which will take you through to the rest of the Bute Noir website.  Under ‘Authors 2018’ there is a page for each author and details of the sessions that they are taking part in.

See you there!

An Evening With Alanna Knight | 2 August 2018

Alanna Knight MBE will be returning to Bute Noir 2018 having been at our inaugural festival in 2016.

Although Bute Noir is 3rd to 5th August this year, Alanna has kindly agreed to do a pop up event at Bute Museum the evening before all our events kick off and as she has sold out her event “Bloody Bute” with Myra Duffy and Michael J. Malone already, it is maybe just as well!

Alanna will be discussing her latest novel ‘Murder Lies Waiting’ with Myra Duffy which as you can see from the front cover, is set on Bute. Tickets are £4 and available from Bute Museum, Print Point and Rothesay Library.


Sold Out Events | Bute Noir 2018

Bute Noir officially launched at the end of May and within the first week, over 50% of the tickets had been sold.

As of today’s date, 70% of the tickets have gone and the following events are sold out:

‘From Screen To Page To Screen’ with Helen Fitzgerald and Alexandra Sokoloff , 7.30pm – 8.30pm on Friday 3 August.

Rothesay Library 9pm – 10pm Friday 4 August – Chris Brookmyre interviewed by Luca Veste

Rothesay Library on Saturday 4 August at 2pm – 3pm for Our People And Places with Craig Robertson and Denzil Meyrick

‘Is It Always A Crime’ with Graeme Macrae Burnet and Michael J Malone 5pm – 6pm on Saturday 4 August.

‘Bloody Bute’ with Myra Duffy, Alanna Knight and Michael J Malone – 12.45pm – 1.45pm on Sunday 5 August.

‘The Last Stand’ with Craig Robertson, Alex Gray, Anna Smith and Luca Veste – Sunday 5.30pm, Bute Museum.

‘Northern Stars’ with Ysra Sigurdardóttir and Alex Gray at 7.30pm – 8.30pm, Rothesay Library, Saturday 4 August

‘Now For Something Completely Different – Chris Brookmyre, Helen Fitzgerald, Abir Mukkerjee and Luca Veste Library – 3.30pm – 4.30pm Saturday 5 August.

‘Time’s Up’ Museum -, Alexandra Sokoloff, Sarah Hilary, Mari Hannah and Ysra Sigurdardottir 4 August, 12.30pm – 1.30pm.

Friday’s Noir at the Bar which happens at the Black Bull is also completely SOLD OUT as is the walking tour with Myra Duffy on Saturday morning!

Tickets are really going fast!


Bute Noir Crime Reading Challenge


Can you read at least one of each by the end of 2018?

1 … with a one word title

2 … published in 2018

3 … written before 1950.

4 … a collection of short stories

5 … by a Scottish author

6 … set in Scotland

7 … set in the future

8 … with a female investigator

9 … with real life crimes

10 … translated from a foreign language

11 … set in America

12 … set in neither the UK nor America

13 … whose author has the same first name as you

14 … an author you have never read before

15 … that is in the ‘cosy crime’ genre

16 … that is a military thriller

17 … turned into a movie or TV series

18 … in audio book form

19 … written for children or young adults

20 … with a red spine

21 … that has won an award

22 … by an author who has died in the past 12 months

23 … recommended to you by a friend

24 … biography of a real life killer or real life crime solver

25 … with a title of more than six words

26 … from a charity shop

27 … that has been a banned book in at least one country in the world

28 … that you have started before and never finished

29 … written by an author of colour

30 … by a Bute Noir 2018 author


The Deaths of December | SJI Holliday


Mulholland Books

The strap-line on my Review Copy is ‘Have yourself a deadly little Christmas’ and a blood-spattered broken bauble. Has she been round my house when I’m trying to put up my glass tree ornaments? There’s always bloody-fingered carnage round at mine …

What does the book tell us about itself?:

When an advent calendar is delivered to the police station, no one takes any notice, until they open it to find a murder behind every door.

Santa’s not the only one in red this Christmas …

It looks like a regular advent calendar. Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors… and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one. The police hope it’s a prank. Because if it isn’t, a murderer has just surfaced – someone who’s been killing for twenty years. But why now? And why has he sent it to this police station? As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them…”

Let me introduce you to your two new favourite coppers – fresh-out-of-the box Detective Constable Becky Greene and the older and more experienced DI Eddie Carmine. They both have a penchant for a fried breakfast and are as sharp as tacks when it comes to working out the clues.

I’ve not read anything by Susi Holliday before and only encountered her for the first time at Bute Noir and I was struck by her great (dark!) sense of humour, so I was delighted to discover that sense of humour sneaks into The Deaths of December too.It’s not a comedy book, but there are nice light touches to break up the many body-strewn advent calendar doors. This might be the first of Susi’s books that I’ve read, but it most certainly won’t be the last.

We start on a Friday with Nine More Sleeps To Go. Right from the outset there is a sense of a race-against-time. From the get go, all the things you love about Christmas are here, but skewed from their regular jolly annual appearance. The Advent Calendar count down which always fills one with excited anticipation now becomes an ominous clock against which the police officers race.  There are craft fairs, there is snow and there is murder with (jingle) bells on.

The story is told from several points of view – first of all we meet the mysterious Photographer before moving the other main characters Becky, Carly and Eddie. Only the photographer speaks in the first person which gives us access to more information than our two detectives have. Will they puzzle things out in time?

At the back of your mind you are aware that the story is winding up at Two More Sleeps and, Ding Dong Merrily on High, we’re NOT quite done yet! What about One More Sleep?! Don’t stop reading before the Epilogue or you’ll miss the dead cat bounce and full resolution of the story.

I was up ALL night reading this Winter Tale as it drew me forward to its snow-sprinkled conclusion. Honestly, my eyes were sore. It was GREAT.

Who did I love the best? I loved all the characters in this book, to be honest. There was some interesting insights into Becky’s past and Eddie Carmine’s home life is not exactly happy. They are very likeable and realistic creations with a good line in banter. You are willing Carmine and Greene to catch The Photographer before he pulls focus and trains his lens a little closer to home…

What did I love most about this book? I do love when an author can make you feel compassion for a killer yet you are still desperate for that killer to be caught. That’s a skill in itself! If pressed, I would say that I loved the character of Carly best of all. I don’t want to say too much because she really is important to the plot, but I really felt for her and the life that she has found herself in.

Get it and read it as a little Christmas treat to yourself!

Merry Christmas from everyone at Bute Noir!