6 Edinburgh-based authors whose books you should read

Edinburgh-based authorsx
Edinburgh-based authorsx
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FROM Arthur Conan Doyle, to Muriel Spark, Robert Louis Stevenson to Irvine Welsh, Edinburgh has long been home to many of the world’s greatest authors.

It continues to inspire writers to this day, here are six authors currently living in and working from the Capital that are worth giving a read.


HAVING spent 20 years working in the public and voluntary sectors, Lesley Kelly’s debut novel, A Fine House in Trinity, was published by Sandstone Press in 2016 and long-listed for the William McIlvanney Prize.

Her second novel, The Health of Strangers, was published a year later and introduced readers to a virus struck Capital of the future and the members of the North Edinburgh Health Enforcement Team, who will return in her latest novel, Songs of Dead Girls, published by Sandstone on 19 April.

In the meantime, meet the HET team in The Art of Not Being Dead, a free to download short story available on Amazon.

Lesley lives in Edinburgh with her husband and two sons.


ELAINE Thomson published her first two novels under the name Elaine diRollo - The Peachgrowers’ Almanac (2008) and Bleakly Hall (2012) - before conjouring up her enigmatic investigator Jem Flockhart (who is not all ‘he’ appears) to front her ongoing series of gripping historical crime novels, set in the dark underbelly of 1840s London.

The Blood, the third Jem Flockhart investigation, is published on 5 April by Constable. Previous novels in the series are Beloved Poison and Dark Asylum.

Born in Ormskirk, Lancashire, Elaine has a PhD in the history of medicine and now lives in Edinburgh with her two sons. She is a university lecturer by day.


CASE Studies introduced Kate Atkinson’s readers to the character that would go on to be the focus of the BBC series of the same name, former private investigator Jackson Brodie, played on TV by Jason Isaacs,

Brodie returned in One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog.

However, it was with her debut novel that the mother of two daughters first found success, winning the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with Behind the Scenes at the Museum.

Her last novel, Life After Life, also won the Costa Novel Award as did her new novel, A God in Ruins. Kate was made an MBE in 2011.


INTERNATIONAL best-seller and creator of Inspector Rebus, Fife-born Ian Rankin graduated Edinburgh University in 1982.

His first published novel, The Flood, hit bookshelves in 1986, with the first Rebus novel, Knots & Crosses, following a year later.

Now translated into 22 languages, there are 20 Rebus novels to read.

In the last 24 hours Rankin has delighted his fans by tweeting that title of his forthcoming Rebus book, which is to be called In A House of Lies.

His other books include the Malcolm Fox novels, Doors Open, the graphic novel Dark Entries, and a play (with Mark Thomson) Dark Road, which premiered at the Lyceum in 2013. He has also written under the pseudonym Jack Harvey.

Ian opted to receive his OBE here in the Capital, where he lives with his wife and two sons.


ONE of the most borrowed authors in UK libraries, Alanna Knight has published more than 60 books, including romantic fiction, thrillers, historical novels and non-fiction.

Named as one of The Times’ 100 Masters of Crime, her three historical crime novels include the Victorian Edinburgh detective Inspector Jeremy Faro Series.

Alanna is Honorary President of Edinburgh Writers’ Club.


ALEXANDER McCall Smith, one of the world’s most prolific authors, was a professor of medical law before catching the writing bug.

His first book, The White Hippo, a kid’s book, was published in 1980, but it is the The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series for which he is best known.

His other best-sellers include the 44 Scotland Street novels. Set in the heart of the Capital they were first published as a serial novel in The Scotsman.