A few short extracts from William McIlvanney's Laidlaw, a book full of witty writing. Laidlaw is the first in a series featuring a Scottish detective named Laidlaw. He's a man with a similar approach to his detecting as Rebus has in the famous Ian Rankin series. These stories were written earlier than those by Rankin and are set in Glasgow, rather than Edinburgh. The other two titles are The Papers of Tony Veitch, and Walking Wounded.
Sunday in the park - it was a nice day. A Glasgow sun was out, dully luminous, an eye with cataract. Some people were in the park pretending it was warm, exercising that necessary Scottish thrift with weather which hoards every good day in the hope of some year amassing a summer.
The scene was a kind of Method School of Weather - a lot of people trying to achieve a subjective belief in the heat in the hope of convincing one another. So the father who lay on the grass, railing in his children with his eyes, wore an open-necked shirt, letting the sun get at his goose-pimples. Two girls who were being chatted up by three boys managed to look romantically breeze-blown rather than cold. An old man sitting on a bench had undone the top two buttons of his overcoat, heralding heatwave. A transistor played somewhere, evocative of beaches. People walking through the park moved unhurriedly, as if through an air muggy with warmth. page 23
Just because you've got a wooden leg doesn't mean you've got to go about battering all the two-legged folk over the head with it. page 167
What I've got against folk like Lawson isn't that they're wrong. It's just that they assume they're right. Bigotry's just unearned certainty, isn't it? Page 200