Claire MacLeary

Claire MacLeary lived for many years in Aberdeen and St Andrews, but describes herself as “a feisty Glaswegian with a full life to draw on”. Following a career in business, she gained an MLitt with Distinction from the University of Dundee and her short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies. She has appeared at Granite Noir, Noir at the Bar and other literary events.

Claire’s crime series, Harcus & Laird, has been recieved with wide acclaim. Her debut novel and the first in the series, Cross Purpose, was longlisted for the prestigious McIlvanney Prize, Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award 2017. Burnout was longlisted for the Hearst Big Book Award 2018. Runaway, her third novel, was published in 2019. Payback is Claire’s fourth novel and continues the Harcus & Laird series.

In Death Drop, the fifth Harcus & Laird novel, PIs Maggie and Wilma find themselves chasing leads on several fronts, including a missing Aberdeen schoolchild and the fallout from a disturbing hanging with a backstory of secrets and lies. Death Drop is out in July 2022.


Harcus & Laird Book 2

by Claire MacLeary

  • RRP: £8.99 (print)
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781912235117


Buy Burnout

Longlisted for the Hearst Big Book Awards, 2018, Crime Novel of the Year


“My husband is trying to kill me.” A new client gets straight to the point, and this line of enquiry is a whole new ball game for Maggie Laird, who is desperately trying to rebuild her late husband’s detective agency and clear his name. Her partner, “Big” Wilma, sees the case as a non-starter, but Maggie is drawn in.

With her client’s life on the line, Maggie must get to the ugly truth that lies behind Aberdeen’s closed doors. But who knows what really goes on between husbands and wives? And will the agency’s reputation – and Maggie and Wilma’s friendship – remain intact?


"Excellent … kept me gripped" Hearst Big Book Award judges: longlisted 2018 Crime Novel of the Year

“Outstanding … the clever blending of several stories opens up different perspectives on [domestic abuse] providing real insight and it’s all delivered within the framework of a gripping and entertaining thriller … brilliantly realised, this thriller will appeal to people who don’t generally go for the genre and fans alike.” Nudge Books

Warm, witty, thoughtful, and thrilling, Burnout leaves you with the feeling that Claire MacLeary is only just getting started.” Alistair Braidwood, Scots Whay Hae

“Harcus and Laird are quite unlike any other characters I am reading – they have self-doubt, worry about paying the bills, feel the world is almost on the brink of slipping away from them yet they have a will and determination to succeed and it makes them a joy to read.” Grab This Book

“Edgy, gritty and intriguing … Littered with suspense, wit and a darkness that pulls you in, Burnout reminds us of the reality we often close our eyes to as well as the measures that some people might go to when they feel there is no way out.” Noelle Holten, Crime Book Junkie

“Burnout examines a timely subject [violence against women and sexism], but it’s the depiction of relationships, all with plenty of nuance, that is the main reason to pick up this book. MacLeary’s confidence in her writing and central characters grows with every chapter, building on the fine foundation of Cross Purpose. You should make time to get to know Maggie and Wilma.” Louise Fairbairn, Scotsman

“MacLeary has a great ear for dialogue and her witty and often gritty prose evokes a strong sense of place and an authenticity that really makes this book sing … It’s not often you get such strong advocacy of and for women in the context of a crime novel but that’s what makes this such an engrossing read.” Live and Deadly

“A terrific writer.” Kirsty Gunn, Scotsman

“Absorbing. This is a thoroughly entertaining series that could run and run.” Shirley Whiteside, Sunday Herald