Local crime fiction author Peter Ritchie’s latest novel in the Grace Macallan series will be published on 14 June.
Peter enjoyed a long and distinguished career in Lothian and Borders Police, the Scottish Crime Squad and the National Criminal Intelligence Service, retiring as a Detective Superintendent.
Since then he has worked on the public enquiry into the murder of UVF leader Billy Wright in the Maze Prison.
Peter has used his considerable experience to bring the characters in the series to life and in ‘Shores of Death’ Grace Macallan is facing a crisis, unsure of her future or whether she is strong enough to carry on with a role in serious crime investigation. Asked to take over an enquiry that will test her to the limit, she struggles with events that threaten to run out of control.
An undercover officer is missing and a young woman is washed up barely alive on the Berwickshire coast. Her story is of witnessing horror on the waters of the North Sea and her subsequent ordeal to survive the trauma that turns her world into a series of nightmares, driving her to the edge of madness.
The story is complex, a web involving trafficked women from Eastern Europe and alliance of ruthless criminals from Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. At the head of this corporation is Pete Handyside a dangerous career criminal brought up on the streets of North Shields who controls organised crime in the North East of England. He realises that his team has been infiltrated and sets off a train of events where some of the most cold-blooded criminals in the North East of England and Central Scotland turn on each other in an attempt to clean the trail of evidence leading to them.
Grace must now pit her wits against Handyside, a brutal criminal devoid of pity who will stop at nothing to protect what he has built up over the years. And with lives at stake, one wrong move could end in tragedy.
Peter recently took time out of his busy schedule to tell the Edinburgh Reporter about the book: “What is interesting about this book is that the character Grace Macallan starts to work on an even broader canvas and the main villain is a Newcastle man brought up in North Shields near the harbour area.
” The opening scenes take place in North Shields and Eyemouth on the Berwickshire coast. Of course as a boy and young man I spent years as a deep sea fisherman working out of these ports so I was able to use my own experience in the descriptions of the places and action.
“A fishing trawler is involved and I named it the Brighter Dawn, which was the name of the fishing boat owned by my Dad and Uncles many years ago. In fact I went down to North Shields when I was writing the book to see how it was today and brought back an awful lot of memories.
“There are other scenes in the book in Perthshire and Argyll as well as Glasgow and of course Edinburgh. So quite a journey for the reader.”