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The Reluctant Detective in St Andrews

St. Andrews has a unique offering as a town, which goes beyond golf. The people, the places, the scenery has offered inspiration to many an artist, musicians and the like. But today we caught up with writer Sinclair Macleod about his second  ‘Reluctant Detective’ novel called ‘The Good Girl’ and found out why he decided to set it in our beautiful town.

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I am a proud Glaswegian, born and bred, but a little piece of my heart belongs in Fife. St Andrews represents a place of fond memories and treasured days, it is my second home. So when I needed a rural setting for my second ‘Reluctant Detective’ novel, it was natural that I chose St Andrews and its surrounding area. The book is called ‘The Good Girl’ and features the search for a missing girl from a farm just outside the town.

As described in the book, there are few places in the world that have the cultural, religious, educational and sporting significance that this ancient town enjoys. If I had used some generic town or village close to Glasgow, it would not have created that sense of place that St Andrews gave me. It is so distinctive that it is no surprise that I am one of many Scottish writers who have chosen it as a setting for their stories.

In and around the town there is a wide diversity of people who form part of its daily life. There are academics and students from all over the world; it is a mecca for golfers and tourists; the residents of Fife include those in the farming and fishing industries. This variety of people allows a writer the luxury of creating a broad range of characters that you might normally find in a big city setting.

It is also a very beautiful place, I thought that you might enjoy seeing where some of the action in the book occurs…..
Outside the Chapel of St Salvator is where an important part of the action of the story unfolds. It is also the oldest building in the town with a history dating back to 1450 and a fine way to show the history of one of the oldest universities in the world.


St Andrews Castle is perched precariously on a cliff top above the waves. It is part of the bloody history of the town that included martyrdom and religious persecution. The plaque commemorates one of the victims of that horrific time. Craig meets one of the suspects at the castle as he tries to pull together the facts of the case.

As Craig contemplates the mystery of the missing girl, he heads to St Rules tower in the grounds of the cathedral. The bracing sea air helps to clear his mind for the task ahead. It is a wonderful place for any visitor and photographer.  Even in ruins you can’t help but marvel at the skill of the builders.

St Andrews is blessed with many fine pubs. I know having tried most of them, in the name of research you understand. The Criterion is the most important to the story as it is where the full dreadful truth is revealed that leads to the explosive climax.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief tour of the town that means so much to me and that it has intrigued you about both the town and the book.

To purchase ‘The Good Girl’ and Sinclair Macleod ‘s other works click here. To read Sinclair Macleod ‘s blog click here. To follow him on Twitter @sinclairmacleod