A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming named Scottish Crime Book of Year

Charles Cumming with his prize-winning book Charles Cumming's book is about the disappearance of the first female head of MI6

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Scotland's first crime-writing festival has drawn to a close with the announcement of the first Scottish Crime Book of the Year.

A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming, from Ayrshire, was chosen from 40 other entries at the end of the Bloody Scotland event in Stirling

The book, his sixth novel, is about the disappearance of the first female head of MI6.

The inaugural festival featured workshops, seminars and readings.

Organisers said crime-writing is the most popular genre amongst book buyers and library users in Scotland.

Mr Cumming, who picked up a £3,000 prize, said: "It's a huge honour to win such a prestigious award in the first year of this fantastic festival."

Crime enthusiasts

Sheena McDonald, who chaired the judging panel, said: "A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming is far more than a pacy novel with a satisfactory ending.

Start Quote

You could quite comfortably fill up an entire festival for a week”

End Quote Val McDermid Author

"This book is exciting, imaginative and well-written. It doesn't simply tick the crime-fiction boxes - it's simply an outstanding novel."

Best-selling authors like Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Denise Mina and Christopher Brookmyre held sessions over the three days of the festival.

The brainchild of writers Lin Anderson and Alex Gray, the event opened on Friday with a keynote address from Rebus creator Rankin.

Fife-born writer Val McDermid said she would like to see the festival become a regular occurrence.

She said: "I think the time is definitely right.

"You could quite comfortably fill up an entire festival for a week, not just a weekend, just using Scottish writers doing crime fiction."

"There is certainly enough of us and enough big names in the Scottish cohort of crime writers for it to be an attractive proposition for audiences."

The 2013 festival is set to be held between 13 and 15 September.

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