Dumfries and Galloway Provides the Perfect Setting for Crime Novels

Jackie Baldwin is a Scottish crime writer who lives and works in Dumfries and Galloway. Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, set in Dumfries, was published by Killer Reads, Harper Collins on 2nd September 2016. Now Jackie has released a second DI Farrell novel, and she tells DGWGO all about it. 

For most of her working life, Jackie has been a solicitor specialising in Family and Criminal Law. However, during the last few years, she retrained as a hypnotherapist and now lives and works in Dumfries. She loves to meet readers and is in a local book group.

Image credit Kim Ayres
Jackie told DGWGO “Setting my second DI Farrell novel in the art world wasn’t an obvious choice to anyone who knows me as I really am the least artistic person that you can imagine. I was asked to leave the art class at school and once nearly failed an arithmetic exam because I couldn’t draw a swimming pool with a sloping floor. As to finger painting with the kids when they were young? You’d have been hard pressed to distinguish between theirs and mine.
However, once that decision was made, it will come as no surprise to you all that the majority of the action had to take place in Kirkcudbright which has carved out a reputation in the Region and beyond as the ‘Artists Town.’
The inspiration for the novel was really ignited by a close friend of mine who happens to be an artist. I had never come across anyone with such an intensity and passion for her work. Through her eyes, I had a window into an entirely new world. Around the same time another friend married an artist who was really rather contemptuous of commercial artists. It reminded me of the way in which the way the art establishment had turned its back on Jack Vettriano and how incredibly successful he had become notwithstanding. Personally, I loved his paintings. This rather intense febrile atmosphere struck me as ripe for development into the plot of a crime novel.
As I have always lived in Dumfries and Galloway, I know the area like the back of my hand and like to include some local references and highlight places of interest to encourage others to visit. With this in mind, I chose to set some of the action at Broughton House, with which many of you will be familiar. Located in the heart of Kirkcudbright, it is a stunning 18th Century townhouse where the Scots impressionist artist, E.A. Hornel, associated with the ‘Glasgow Boys,’ used to lived and worked. If anyone hasn’t been, I would heartily recommend it both for the fascinating art exhibits and also for the magnificent garden out the back.
Two graveyards feature in the novel, which are the Kirkyard in Kirkcudbright and the one attached to Dundrennan Abbey. I must have looked rather suspicious skulking around doing my research!
Another local area highlighted is the MoD firing range at Dundrennan. I remember walking miles with our two golden Retrievers trying to find the perfect spot to place a body, (as you do!)
 As a local crime writer, I believe that the wild, rugged landscape of Dumfries and Galloway provides the perfect setting for crime novels and offers something a little different to a reader than the usual urban cityscape. Anyone who keeps abreast of the news will realise that the most appalling crimes often happen in small towns and villages. As such, I am sure that DI Frank Farrell will have more than enough to occupy him for some considerable time!”

Each murder brings him one step closer to the perfect death.

Ex-priest, DI Farrell is called on to investigate a gruesome death in rural Scotland. All evidence points to suicide, except for one loose end: every light in the cottage was switched off. Why would he kill himself in the dark?

The question sparks a murder investigation that leads to the mysterious Ivy House, home of ‘The Collective,’ a sinister commune of artists who will do anything to keep their twisted secrets hidden.

And when the remains of a young girl are uncovered on a barren stretch of coastline, Farrell realises that there is something rotten in this tight-knit community. Now he must track down a ruthless killer before another person dies, this time much closer to home…

Buy the book HERE

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