Upon the release of his new book Close Quarters, Angus McAllister tells us a little bit more about himself. 

Angus McAllister

Angus McAllister

Day jobs  I originally qualified as a solicitor but later became an academic and, eventually, a professor of law.  I’ve drawn heavily upon my day jobs in my new novel CLOSE QUARTERS, one of the main characters being a solicitor and another a university lecturer.  To liven things up, I gave the solicitor a serious drink problem, something quite common within the legal profession.

Early publishing difficulties  My first few novels didn’t get published, so I tried to write something completely different with each new book.  This habit persisted after my work began to get accepted, with the result that people who liked one of my books often didn’t like one of the others, and vice versa.  This made it more difficult to build up a readership, but it’s much more fun.

The Krugg Syndrome  My novel THE KRUGG SYNDROME is a social comedy with a science fiction theme.  It’s semi-autobiographical, but I tried to make my boring life more interesting by making my hero an alien. 

Cult following   THE KRUGG SYNDROME has attracted a cult following, including a Glasgow judge who wanted to reprint a court scene from it in a book of legal pieces he was editing.  However, the Murdoch organisation owned the rights at the time and wanted to charge £30 for reprinting the extract, which was beyond the budget of the judge’s small Edinburgh publisher, so he used another piece by me instead.

The Canongate Strangler  My novel THE CANONGATE STRANGLER is a dark, psychological thriller set in Edinburgh, which draws heavily upon DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE.

The Cyber Puppets  My science fiction novel THE CYBER PUPPETS features an American soap opera about a family-owned company of Scotch whisky distillers.  A major part of my research was to save up 85 episodes of DALLAS on videotape and watch them all over the course of a week.

Close Quarters  My new novel CLOSE QUARTERS isn’t science fiction, since it’s set in Glasgow’s west end, which already contains a sufficient element of the fantastic.  The book is a satirical comedy and also a love letter to the west end, a uniquely cosmopolitan area located beside Glasgow University and, at the time when my book is set, the headquarters of BBC Scotland.

A crime angle  CLOSE QUARTERS is also loosely dressed up as a murder mystery.  All of the main characters live in the same tenement building, and when one of them is murdered all of his neighbours are suspects.  It is a parody of the old-style country house murder mystery, where the suspects are the victim’s fellow house guests.  There is no butler who might have done it but, by an outrageous piece of plot manipulation, the factor (the property agent who manages the building) also becomes a suspect.

I am now retired   I now lead a reclusive life, writing fiction, visiting the cinema, listening to classical music, watching TV drama and socialising with friends.

My website You can find out more about me on my website angusmcallister.co.uk  But be warned: some of the jokes on it have already been used here!