He’s no everybody’s cup of tea, but he’s got a gift.

William McIIvanney, Scottish born and bred, educated at the university of Glasgow, became a teacher of English and wrote novels of fiction full-time.

It depends how much effort you want to spend reading to find the ‘gold’ in the language he uses.

I came across ‘The Big Man’ about fifteen years ago and he enthralled me with his dialogue of a Glaswegian character. Last week I reread ‘Laidlaw’ a story about a Glaswegian detective and realized McIIvanney’s worth.

He writes in short chapters and creates a cameo of the characters in a scene that leaves no-one in doubt about the images he portrays. You have a feeling that nothing has been left out of the picture and there is nothing that could be added to make it perfect. And when the characters talk in their native Glaswegian language, it adds to the picture.

But McIIvanney’s sense of the Glasgow humour is priceless. I wish I had a photographic memory to recall some of the conversations between Laidlaw and the people he talks to. I end up wanting to find the pages in the book where I was in stitches laughing.

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