Stuart MacBride: Books that changed my life

Stuart MacBride 16 June 2022

Scottish crime maestro Stuart MacBride, author of the Logan McRae and Ash Henderson novels, introduces the books that have inspired his love of reading

Winnie-the-Pooh by AA Milne

Winnie The Pooh by AA Milne yellow book cover

This is the book that lives deep in the heart of me—the one that made me realise, all those years ago, that reading is flipping brilliant—kicking off a lifelong love affair with books and stories.

I don’t think anyone has ever captured the sparkling imagination of small children as well as Milne and his little fuzzy bear with a serious honey addiction.

In a serious lapse of judgement, I agreed to do Celebrity Mastermind a few years ago and Milne was my specialist subject. Even after going through that particular horror, I still love the stories. Best. Book. Ever.

Hard Frost by RD Wingfield

Hard Frost by R.D. Wingfield book cover

Most people have heard of the TV show, A Touch of Frost, but very few have actually read the books. Which is a shame, because they’re so much better.

Wingfield’s DI “Jack” Frost is a far more complicated and layered character and he’s at his best in this intricate tale of kidnap, cynicism, and revenge.

He’s crude, he’s irascible, he’s kind, he’s funny, he makes mistakes, he’s human. He’s also surrounded by a supporting cast that make this an absolute joy to read.

Hard Frost is the book that opened my eyes to what crime fiction could, and should, be.

The Four Great Novels by Dashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett The Four Great Novels book cover

I discovered this omnibus edition of Hammett when I was 13 and it changed everything.

Previously I’d been into a much softer kind of crime fiction: the Hardy Boys, Poirot, Holmes, Scooby-Doo… and now here I was with a bumper collection of hard-boiled noir: The Dain Curse, The Glass Key, Red Harvest, and The Maltese Falcon.

The grit and darkness of Hammett’s work couldn’t have been further from what I was used to, and I loved it. His novels are taut, often brutal, where life is cheap and the bourbon cheaper, in a world made dark by unscrupulous men.

Stuart MacBride's new novel, No Less The Devil is available now (£20.00, Transworld).

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