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When Aberdeen housewife Debbie Milne abruptly vanishes without trace, leaving behind her two young children, husband Scott is too distraught to sit out the police’s 72-hour window and await developments. He turns to local detective agency Harcus & Laird.

Put off by previous “domestic” cases, Maggie Laird isn’t keen, but is cajoled by partner Wilma Harcus into a covert operation. Together they comb through meagre scraps of information, eventually trawling the city’s women’s refuges and homeless squats, in spite of the deadly danger.

Then a woman’s body is discovered in a Dundee builder’s skip. With the clock ticking and the police struggling to make identification, the race is on. Claire MacLeary fashions a surprising, gritty, fast-paced tale with the warmth and wisdom of ‘women of a certain age’. 


“This is a thoroughly entertaining series that could run and run.” Sunday Herald

Trade information

  • Rights: World
  • BIC code(s): FF
  • BISAC code(s): FIC050000


About the author

Claire MacLeary

Claire MacLeary has lived in Aberdeen and Fife, 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. Runaway is her third novel and continues the Harcus & Laird series. Cross Purpose was longlisted for the McIlvanney Award 2017, and Burnout was longlisted for the Hearst Big Book Award 2018.

Praise for the Harcus & Laird series:

“Gripping.” Good Housekeeping

“A terrific writer.” Kirsty Gunn, Scotsman

“A wise and all-too-pertinent voice.” Raven Crime Reads

“A brilliant new talent for the lover of crime.” Dame Sue Black, forensic anthropologist

“Refreshingly different… a fast-paced tale.” Shirley Whiteside, Herald

“Fantastic … a gritty book with a surprisingly warm theme.” The List

“Terrific … compelling to the end.” Theresa Talbot