A Mongrel Tradition
: Contemporary Scottish Crime Fiction and its Transatlantic Contexts

  • Christopher Kydd

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis discusses contemporary Scottish crime fiction in light of its transatlantic contexts. It argues that, despite participating in a globalized popular genre, examples of Scottish crime fiction nevertheless meaningfully intervene in notions of Scottishness. The first chapter examines Scottish appropriations of the hard-boiled mode in the work of William McIlvanney, Ian Rankin, and Irvine Welsh, using their representation of traditional masculinity as an index for wider concerns about community, class, and violence. The second chapter examines examples of Scottish crime fiction that exploit the baroque aesthetics of gothic and noir fiction as a means of dealing with the same socio-political contexts. It argues that the work of Iain Banks and Louise Welsh draws upon a tradition of distinctively Scottish gothic in order to articulate concerns about the re-incursion of barbarism within contemporary civilized societies. The third chapter examines the parodic, carnivalesque aspects of contemporary Scottish crime fiction in the work of Christopher Brookmyre and Allan Guthrie. It argues that the structure of parody replicates the structure of genre, meaning that the parodic examples dramatize the textual processes at work in more central examples of Scottish crime fiction. The fourth chapter focuses on examples of Scottish crime fiction that participate in the culturally English golden-age and soft-boiled traditions. Unpacking the darker, more ambivalent aspects of these apparently cosy and genteel traditions, this final chapter argues that the novels of M. C. Beaton and Kate Atkinson obliquely refract the particularly Scottish concerns about modernity that the more central examples more openly express.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsArts & Humanities Research Council
    SupervisorAliki Varvogli (Supervisor) & David Robb (Supervisor)


    • Scottish
    • Crime Fiction
    • Scotttish Crime Fiction
    • Popular Culture
    • Genre
    • Transatlantic
    • Globalization
    • Hard-Boiled
    • Masculinity
    • Modernity
    • William McIlvanney
    • Ian Rankin
    • Irvine Welsh
    • Iain Banks
    • James Kelman
    • Louise Welsh
    • Elspeth Barker
    • Pastiche
    • Parody
    • National Identity
    • Kate Atkinson
    • Christopher Brookmyre
    • Allan Guthrie
    • Detective Fiction
    • Social Class
    • Soft-Boiled
    • Golden Age
    • Film Noir
    • Post-Industrial
    • Carnivalesque

    Cite this