Murderabilia | Craig Robertson


Craig Robertson

Simon & Schuster


DI Rachel Narey and former police photographer turned photojournalist Tony Winter are back with a bang in Murderabilia.

Here’s the cover blurb to whet your appetite:

The first commuter train of the morning slowly rumbles away from platform seven of Queen St station. And then, as the train emerges from a tunnel, the screaming starts. Hanging from the bridge ahead of them is a body. Placed neatly on the ground below him are the victim’s clothes. Why?

Detective Inspector Narey is assigned the case and then just as quickly taken off it again. Winter, now a journalist, must pursue the case for her. The line of questioning centres around the victim’s clothes – why leave them in full view? And what did the killer not leave, and where might it appear again?

Everyone has a hobby. Some people collect death. To find this evil, Narey must go on to the dark web, and into immense danger …

You don’t have to have read ANY of Craig Robertson’s other Narey/Winter books in order to enjoy this one. Their relationship is on a serious footing and they both find themselves in unfamiliar territory – Narey becomes confined to bed, Winter finding his feet at his new job as a photojournalist.

I’ve only read a few of Craig Robertson’s books, but I learned about Urbexing (In Place of Death) and now here in Murderabilia I have discovered that murderabilia is actually a proper thing. It’s where people collect memorabilia surrounding crime, criminals and victims. Chilling thought, isn’t it? When Craig came to Bute Noir this year, he spoke with Denise Mina and Luca Veste about what murderabilia he himself had bought as background research for this book. We all shivered, but I’m betting that there wasn’t one amongst us who wouldn’t have liked to see for ourselves the hand-penned letter from Moors murderer Ian Brady. It’s so not stamp-collecting! After Brady’s death earlier in the year, the letter has undoubtedly gone up in value… * shudders involuntarily*

Narey, pregnant, bed-bound and off the case, makes a few tentative steps into the world of the dark web as she hunts for clues and soon finds herself being consumed by it: You can buy masonry from the house where the Manson Family murdered Sharon Tate. Sharon Tate was eight and a half months pregnant at the time she was murdered. The blurring of the lines between real crime and the fictional crime leads to a strange sense of it ALL being real.

As with Craig’s other books, this rattles along at a cracking pace (with me only stopping to google murderers and crimes to keep tabs on what was real and what was not!) and keeps you on your toes right to the end.

Poor Narey and Winter! Craig likes to be very cruel to the pair of them and this book is no exception – it’s an emotional roller-coaster for the couple! The juxtaposition of Narey and the precious cargo that she is carrying with the horror of the world that she is VOLUNTARILY wading around in on-line becomes uncomfortable reading. But that’s surely one of the book’s aims– murderabilia IS a ghoulish, fascinating and exploitative way to spend one’s hard-earned shekels.

Murderabilia is not only a great story well told, it holds a mirror up to a part of life that is quite real, quite unusual and quite unpleasant.  Don’t take my word for it that this is a good ‘un to read – Murderabilia was on the short list for The McIlvanney Prize at Bloody Scotland this year and also long-listed for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the year.  I can’t wait to read Craig’s next book: The Photographer drops in January 2018!

What did you think of Murderabilia? Come over to our facebook page and chip in with your comments!

Keeping It Real | Denise Mina | Craig Robertson | Luca Veste

This session took place in Rothesay Library after the Opening Session and had been a sell out for weeks.  Not surprising as this was Denise Mina’s only appearance at Bute Noir and nobody wanted to miss out on listening to her talk on the business of writing about real life crime and criminals.

Luca Veste had stepped in to replace Denzil Meyrick as interviewer for Craig and Denise and if he was nervous about his last minute interview, it didn’t show at all.  Under Luca’s guiding hand, Denise and Craig kept the audience rapt with their tales of the real life macabre.

Relaxing before the Keeping It Real session begins!

In his latest book, Craig Robertson deals with ‘murderabillia’, the disturbingly fascinating hobby where people buy and sell souvenirs of real life crime.   Craig explained that he had actually become involved in this as part of his Murderabillia research and admitted that he now owns a letter written by Moors Murderer Ian Brady and a piece of mantelpiece from the demolished mansion where Sharon Tate was murdered by followers of Charles Manson.  In Craig’s Murderabillia, DI Narey finds herself caught up in the dangerous world of the dark web as she researches an old murder and a new one.

Denise spoke about her book ‘The Long Drop’ which is both fiction and fact, based on the murder of the Watt family by Peter Manuel, in the 1950s.  Denise takes the factual statements from the court case (which are so odd to read that when she was researching the case transcripts she thought that there were pages missing) and has built a story around the Glasgow legend that one night Mr Watt went on an all night bender with Peter Manual – to get at the truth behind his family’s murder … or something even more sinister?

Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, the session was hugely entertaining, giving us as many laughs as it did guilty shivers …

Both Denise and Craig were shortlisted for the 2017 McIlvanney Prize at Bloody Scotland and on Friday 8 September, it was announced that Denise had won!

CONGRATULATIONS  to Denise Mina for winning the 2017 McIlvanney Prize at Bloody Scotland for The Long Drop!


Opening Up | Myra Duffy | Alex Gray | Caro Ramsay

As the photographer for Bute Noir, I was all geared up for Karen’s summons to the library to take photos of the authors and I had in my head what I wanted to do: take pictures of them all as if they were in the movie The Usual Suspects – a line up of our motley crew!

Unfortunately, not all the authors were able to be present for the photo session because of travel hiccups, so I ended up going for something much more traditional – a group photo.

The observant reader will spot that in the group photo Steve Cavanagh is clutching a Mason Cross book. That’s because Steve Cavanagh’s book was out on loan!

The authors at Bute Noir 2017
Caro Ramsay, Alex Gray, Myra Duffy, Craig Robertson, Alex Sokoloff, Luca Veste, Lin Anderson and Steve Cavanagh

Once the photos were taken, we hot-footed it along to Bute Museum, which is, thankfully, just next door to the library and there we all settled down for the first session of this year’s Bute Noir event.

I took a nice candid shot:

Ann Spiers, Alex Gray and Caro Ramsay

Soon it was 4.30 and we were OFF!

The Museum was full – our first event was sold-out!

Ann Spiers from the Bute Museum team introduced Bute Noir’s founder, Craig Robertson, and then Craig welcomed everyone to the event and introduced the speakers.

The talented and funny Caro Ramsay then lead the chat between Myra Duffy and Alex Gray. Myra and Alex are both well-known and loved on Bute. Myra writes ‘cosy crime’ fiction and sets all her novels about Alison Cameron here on Rothesay and Alex Gray has family connections here and sets her DI Lorimer novels just up the river, in Glasgow.

Myra, Caro and Alex – waiting to begin

As the ‘Opening Up’ session for the whole weekend, the conversation was varied and – with Caro in the chair – affectionately irreverent!

It was a lovely opening session for what turned out to be a wonderful – and packed – weekend.

Then for us it was a jog home for some food and a swift return to the library for the next session at 6pm. Yeah, when you go to every event, you need to exist on white wine and cupcakes for 72 hours!