Books: Criminal Outrage

LAIDLAW by WILLIAM MclLVANNEY 224 pages. Pantheon. $7.95.

This novel should surprise those who think that the only Scottish murder mystery is Macbeth. Set in contemporary Glasgow, it has not a bonny brae nor a twirling tartan to its name; but it offers an assortment of colorful underworld types who demonstrate that tough talk is not softened when it is spoken with a burr. Laidlaw is also the first police procedural by Scottish Author William McIlvanney, 41, who has written three earlier novels and a book of poems, none published in the U.S. Like the whiskies of his native land, Mcllvanney's debut...

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