Most of this site's functionality requires JavaScript to be enabled.

Invalid email/password
Log In
Catriona McPherson
Catriona McPherson is the national best-selling author of the Dandy Gilver series of preposterous detective stories, set in her native Scotland in the 1930s, which have won numerous awards, including the Agatha, for best historical mystery and been optioned for television.

She also writes darker contemporary suspense novels, which have won Anthony awards and been finalists for the Edgar and the Mary Higgins Clark prize. 

Eight years after immigrating to the US and settling in Davis, Catriona began the Last Ditch series, written about a completely fictional Scottish woman who moves to a completely fictional college town in California. The first, SCOT FREE, won the 2019 award for best comic mystery at Left Coast Crime. 

Catriona is a proud lifetime member and former national president of Sisters in Crime, committed to advancing equity and inclusion for women, writers of colour, LGBTQ+ writers and writers with disability in the mystery community.

Coming October 22nd - Strangers at the Gate - Pre-Order it now!See more

Finnie Doyle and Paddy Lamb are leaving city life behind them and moving to the little town of Simmerton. Paddy has landed a partnership in a local solicitors and Finnie’s snagged a job as a church deacon. Their rented cottage is quaint; their new colleagues are charming; they can’t believe their luck.

But witnessing the bloody aftermath of a brutal murder changes everything. They’ve each been keeping secrets about their pasts. And they both know their precious new start won’t survive a scandal. Together, for the best of reasons, they make the worst decision of their lives.

And that’s only the beginning. The deep, deep valley where Simmerton sits and the even deeper side cuts where the sun never shines are unlike anywhere Finn and Paddy have been before. They are not the only ones hiding in these shadows and very soon they’ve lost control of the game they decided to play.

Where do you turn, when everyone’s a stranger and you stop believing what your own eyes see?

The Lexy Campbell SeriesSee more

How did it come to this? Where did it all go wrong? How did I, Lexy Campbell, strong modern Scottish woman, end up homeless, jobless and broke, thousands of miles from everyone and everything I knew, all my belongings locked in a room with an now-expired keycard, my plane ticket useless because I’d missed my flight, my brilliant attempt at being a witness turning me into a bigger suspect every time I re-opened my mouth, and no one I could call for help except . . . No! No one I could call for help. No exceptions.

Because that – the lack of exceptions, the non-helper, the no one – was where it had all gone wrong.

I had looked across a crowded room, seen his face, and taken the first step towards the California cop shop where I sat right now.

In my defence, I had just boiled my head. I was at Turnberry for the spa. He was at Turnberry for the golf. And he was so . . . American. So very . . . un-Scottish. He was tall, brawny, sun-kissed, and clean! He came off the eighteenth green cleaner than I came out of a  sauna. His teeth were like a double row of little oblong paint samples (if a DIY outlet would ever have two rows of fourteen samples of the same paint shade: American Teeth). His hair was by Abercrombie, his nails by Fitch, his clothes . . . His clothes were god-awful, actually. Elvis wouldn’t have worn them to brunch in his Vegas days, but that’s golf for you. And he was soon out of them anyway . . .

The Dandy Gilver Series (UK)See more

Dandy was born in Northhamptonshire on 11th of November 1886, the younger daughter of Edward Leston and the Hon. Millicent Leston (nee Gillick: the Cornish Gillicks). Her siblings are Edward Alfred Dante Leston b 1892 and Mavis Odile Leston b 1885.

After attending finishing school in Paris which gave little finish, but did no lasting harm, Dandy came out in 1904. She enjoyed her season tremendously but had trouble remembering to speak to the young men (being more interested in her girlfriends) and so did not become engaged until she was almost twenty and headed for the shelf.She was educated at home by (successively) Nanny Palmer, Miss Poste, Mme Toulemonde, and M. Neville, but only Nanny Palmer made any impact.

Married to Hugh Murdoch Cathellan Gilver on the 1st of December 1906, once again Dandy set about enjoying life and did not produce an heir for five long mother-in-law enraging years. However, Donald Gilver was born at last in 1911 and Edward (Teddy) followed in 1912.

During the Great War, Dandy worked as a semi-competent but cheerful volunteer nurse at the Monicrieffe House Sanitorium for Officers in Perthshire. Hugh spent the War in France, a long way from the front; the children spent it in the nursery wing a long way from Dandy. So, despite the uniform it could all have been a lot worse.

After the Armistice, Dandy spent a few increasingly humdrum years without occupation, purpose, funds, or hopes for a brighter future and then her life took a very unexpected turn...

Stand Alone BooksSee more