What’s your biggest frustration about researching for your crime fiction?

Do you have a specific question? Are you unable to find the answer?  Do you not know where to look for the answer?  Do you think you know the answer but aren’t too sure and don’t know how to confirm your thoughts?

If you don’t want to comment on this blog, drop me a private note to the.writer@hotmail.co.uk

  1. Margaret Morton Kirk says:

    My biggest problem is that I’m writing crime fiction set in Scotland, and most of the procedural guides out there are written with either the US or English/Welsh systems in mind. Our legal system is completely different, and though procedures may have parallels, I’m pretty sure the terminology will vary. Any suggestions, apart from finding a friendly police officer and getting them very drunk?!


    • Thanks for sharing this Margaret and you are right about things differing between Scottish and English/Welsh policing. Terminology may not vary that much though and I would err caution trying to use too much as well as colloquialisms. Many of your readers may not come from Scotland or understand some of the terms you may be seeking.

      I wouldn’t recommend getting an officer drunk as some of them would take a long time getting there. You could try the Police Scotland Website at http://www.scotland.police.uk/ or Ask the Police Scotland at https://www.askthe.scottish.police.uk/content/@1.htm

      As an alternative I would recommend keeping an eye on reports or documentaries about the police in Scotland and whilst I can’t say I have read their book, you do have Ian Rankin and Val McDermid to refer to in respect of dialogue.

      Other than that, you could always try me, you never know what I might know. I don’t know what I know most of the time.


      • Margaret Morton Kirk says:

        Thanks for getting back to me – take your point about the drink aspect! Seriously, though, I have been haunting the Police Scotland website for some time, and while it is of use, it doesn’t go into the detail I need. I think as far as I can, I need to use accurate terminology and rely on crime readers (who’re quite a bright lot!) to work it out – after all, if we read crime fiction set in the US, we have to get to grips with their usage, don’t we?

        Very helpful point about the using the ‘ask the Scottish police’ link, though! And yes, if I’m totally stuck I will definitely take you up on your offer! Thanks again 🙂


    • You’re welcome and very good point about novels about the US.


  2. Margaret Morton Kirk says:

    A very quick question, hopefully – drugs raids. Do police have to identify themselves first, i.e. ‘Police! Open up!’ and wait, thereby risking disposal of evidence, or are they permitted to go straight to the door thumping, ‘big red key’ action?
    Any help much appreciated!


  3. Highland Writer says:

    Congratulations on your new book, will definitely take a look! Could you advise re: the police’s position regarding the offering of rewards for information in a murder case by a private individual – for example, a murdered celebrity’s agent? I assume they wouldn’t be desperately pleased due to the volume of fruitless leads it would generate, but would be unable to prevent it happening. Would that be a fair assumption?


    • Hi Margaret and thanks for your support.

      The official stance in England and Wales is “In every case where the media or other organisations are considering issuing a
      reward for information, the SIO should ensure that they, or a representative, are consulted and an holistic assessment made of the opportunities and threats that a
      reward might create.”

      So in some cases you are right, they may lead to lots of extra work but every piece of information that comes into the enquiry is another potential clue to identifying the suspect.

      Liked by 1 person

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