Ex-sheriff Ian plots Murder on Page One
Published 24 Sep 2012 11:30 1 Comment
click to enlarge
Former Dunfermline sheriff Ian Simpson has carved out a new career in crime writing.
FORMER Dunfermline sheriff Ian Simpson has turned his hand to crime fiction and is earning rave reviews for his tales of bent cops and hardened crooks.
Ian (63) served as sheriff of Tayside Central and Fife at Dunfermline Sheriff Court from 2003 to 2006 towards the end of a long career which included sitting as a judge in High Court murder trials.
Since retiring he has turned his hand to writing novels and his first effort, Devils and Disciples, was nominated for a Debut Dagger Award by the Crime Writers Association.
He has followed that up with his first published book, Murder on Page One, which has received a great response online.
The book is a light-hearted whodunit that tells the story of a serial killer who targets London literary agents.
Ian saw plenty of shady characters during his legal career and says that his time on the bench had a major influence on his writing.
But he keeps his cards close to his chest when asked if any of his villains are based on people he met during his time in Dunfermline.
The writer laughed, "Well, even if they were, I wouldn't tell you! There's a lot of creative licence involved but there is definitely an influence.
"The central character is a policeman, I wouldn't say he was your archetypal bent cop, but he's someone who takes a lot of short cuts, he does things he's not supposed to do. Obviously, in my career I was aware of things like that happening, particularly in the 70s and 80s."
"You might get someone's appearance from a real person and then another from someone's character. You create a composite from people you've known and others you've imagined, inflate it with your imagination and that's really
Ian enjoyed his time at Dunfermline and only left his job because he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and the commute from his home in Edinburgh was beginning to take its toll on him.
He left for a role in Edinburgh to cut out the travelling but found that he was struggling to maintain a court note for a full day.
"I would have happily stayed on in Dunfermline until the end of my career if muscular dystrophy hadn't intervened," he said. "I liked the sheriff clerks, I liked the bar, it's nothing but happy memories for me.
"Even the criminals in Dunfermline seemed like an amiable bunch of ne'er-do-wells! I just wish I had been able to stay there longer."
Since retiring Ian has had time to travel the world with his wife Annie - recently sailing from Dubai to Southampton aboard the Queen Mary II- and work on his writing.
Ian said, "I've always had a hankering to be a writer but obviously I made my living in the law. I have got into the writing a lot since I retired and it's fun."
Murder on Page One is available in Waterstone's and WHSmith and Ian's next crime thriller in currently in production.
This article appeared in Dunfermline Press 24 Sep 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.