Bar staff at a certain Royal Mile hostelry will have more reason than most to hope Steve Christie is the next big thing in crime fiction.
For as tourists flock to nearby The Elephant House to soak up the atmosphere in the teashop where JK Rowling created some of Harry Potter’s early adventures, future fans of Christie will need to head along to Deacon Brodie’s Tavern.
For not only is some of his thriller, Good Deed, set in the pub, it is also where Steve did much of the writing.
Auld Reekie’s atmospheric architecture and graceful gloom has of course served as a backdrop to detective stories for generations, making it one city where crime – of the fictional sort, at least – really does pay.
Thanks to Gilmerton-based Steve, there’s a new kid on the block, following in the footsteps and snapping at the heels of Private Investigator Jackson Brodie and Detective Inspector John Rebus.
DI Ronnie Buchanan, who is based on and named after Steve’s own late father, has been given his debut in Good Deed, a tale based around the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished.
Steve, who was born in Aberdeen but has lived in Edinburgh for the past 18 years, says: “I’ve always been fascinated by the stories you read where some completely innocent Good Samaritan ends up getting embroiled in a dangerous situation, and that was the jumping-off point for putting together the rest of the plot. I kicked the idea about in my head for about a month or two and then it took less than four months to actually write it.”
The story begins with an Edinburgh student devising an ill-conceived plan on how to fund their education.
Steve says: “They decide to act as a drugs courier between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, but make a little stop along the way for a coffee. The drugs end up being stolen and it all kicks off from there.
“Quite a few different places in Scotland are featured in the book, but I would say about 70 per cent is set in Edinburgh, with plenty of locations that people will recognise, including the Pentlands, Deacon Brodies and the Guildford Arms.”
The 48-year-old, who has a day job as a service support officer at Valley Park Community Centre in Stenhouse, had to fit his writing in between work and helping wife Audrey care for their autistic son, Mac.
He says: “I actually wrote a lot of it on my iPhone. It’s great if you have an idea when you’re on the go. I actually wrote the parts of the story set in Deacon Brodie’s while I was there.”
With the book gaining strong reviews, Steve is already working on a sequel, provisionally titled Cold Shot.
He says: “I’ve got about 100 pages done already, which my publisher is rather pleased about. I have a lot of ideas for a whole series of books and I’m really looking forward to letting the characters develop.”
He’s certain that his father, Ronnie, who passed away four years ago, would be pleased that his son has immortalised him in print.
“I told my mum that I’d named the main character after my father, and that he also had a few of his traits. After she read the book she told me she thought he would be very chuffed with it. He was always reading and it was him who always encouraged me to read, so this is a tribute to that.”
n Steve will be appearing at the Hudson Hotel on Hope Street on November 29 at 7pm, where he will take part in a Q&A and sign copies of Good Deed.