Val McDermid will launch her first new series in almost 20 years with Sphere this summer, inspired by her time as a young reporter in the 1970s.
The five-novel series will draw upon McDermid’s experiences as a journalist in Glasgow, "where she witnessed life in the newsroom at first-hand," Sphere said.
UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canadian rights) were acquired by Lucy Malagoni, publisher for Sphere Fiction from Jane Gregory at David Higham Associates.
The first book, titled 1979, will introduce ambitious young reporter Allie Burns, “who knows she needs to be twice as good as the men she works with just to be allowed to hunt down stories,” Sphere said. “The novel will explore issues of class, gender, sexuality and politics alongside a high-stakes investigation into corruption and unrest in Glasgow in the Seventies. Allie’s story will be told in five instalments, each set a decade apart, tracking the changing state of Scotland’s criminal, social and political landscape, as well as this unforgettable protagonist’s life.”
1979, which is published on 19th August, will be McDermid's 35th novel.
Malagoni said: “I was beyond excited when Val first told me about the idea for her new novel, the start of an ambitious, bold new series introducing Allie Burns: a character I feel confident will become just as iconic as Tony Hill and Carol Jordan.1979 is an utterly immersive, thrilling and, in many ways, timeless novel, and readers are in for such a treat. The undisputed 'Queen of Crime' is truly writing at the peak of her powers and I can’t wait for us to publish this in August.”
McDermid said: “Writing crime fiction offers such a wide range of possibilities and with my 35th novel, I’m moving on to fresh territory again. Given the uncertainties of the present and the shifting sands under our feet, I’ve opted for a time and place where I’m on solid ground: Glasgow 1979, looking through the eyes of reporter Allie Burns.1979 is the start of a five-novel sequence set at 10-year intervals, following Allie through a variety of settings and roles. And it’s a great place to start; 1979 was a landmark year socially and politically, and has so many resonances for us today. I’m excited to be at the start of something new, and I hope Allie is going to be as dear to my readers as all my previous series characters.”
Gregory said: “I am continually amazed and thrilled by Val’s extraordinary talent. She constantly ups the level of her game—I am so proud to be her agent.”