Stuart David is a musician, songwriter and novelist. He co-founded the band Belle and Sebastian and went on to form Looper. He grew up in Alexandria, on the west coast of Scotland – a town memorably described as looking like ‘a town that’s helping the police with their inquiries’. His memoir, In the All-Night Café: A Memoir of Belle and Sebastian’s Formative Year, was published by Abacus/Little, Brown in 2015 to much critical acclaim.
Stuart is appearing at Aye Write to chat about his forthcoming novel Peacock’s Alibi, chronicling the chaotic life and times of his favourite Glasgow chancer, Peacock Johnson, described by the Independent as ‘Billy Connolly meets Inspector Clouseau’.
In Peacock’s Alibi, Peacock Johnson is excited about his next get-rich-quick scheme. He thinks it’s a surefire winner and has a friend interested in investing. Unfortunately, Peacock is also the main suspect for the murder of small-time crook Dougie Dowds. He has an alibi, but Detective Inspector McFadgen is not buying it. Under McFadgen’s constant surveillance, Peacock’s path to riches seems to be vanishing into the ether, and then things begin to seriously unravel . . .
Here’s a taster for you courtesy of Polygon…
We go way back, the bold detective and myself. Back, in fact, to when he was simply PC McFadgen, at least. Here’s the thing about him, though – regardless of the rank he happens to be occupying at any particular moment, he’s always trying to lift me for a crime at the level he’s currently qualified to be investigating. He apparently sees us as rising up through the ranks of our respective careers almost in parallel. I mean, fair enough, he’s booked me for this and that, now and again. But the vast bulk of it was minor misdemeanours back in the early days. He’s been pretty much on to plums since then. Still, give him his due, he’s a determined soul. Not a man prone to giving up when he sets his mind to something.
‘What can I get you, Duncan?’ I asked him, when I’d ushered him through the lobby and into the kitchen. ‘Tea, coffee? A wee snifter?’
‘Nothing for me, Johnson,’ he said. ‘This is hardly a social call.’
‘Fair enough,’ I said, and grabbed myself a beer from the fridge. ‘Settle yourself down at the table there, and let’s hear the latest. Let’s see what I’ve been up to this time.’
He started ruffling about in his jacket pockets, first the ones on the inside, then he found what he was looking for in one at the front.
Now that McFadgen’s out of the uniform, and free to put his own distinct wardrobe together, it’s hard to pin-point exactly what kind of look he’s going for. He’s certainly attempting something or other, but he’s fallen somewhat short of whatever it was, and he really just looks like a bit of a fud. There’s certainly a stab at Humphrey Bogart in there, maybe some Taggart and even a hint of Columbo. But his lumpy wee body, his pink face and his at brown hair have resulted in the whole thing making him look more like the treasurer of a bowling club than whatever it was he initially set out to achieve. Unless, of course, it was the treasurer of a bowling club he was aiming at all along.
‘Right,’ he said, now that he’d laid his hands on the precious item that had been hiding away in his suit pocket, ‘what have you got to say about this, Johnson? What fabricated nonsense am I going to have to sit and listen to in response to this?’
And he handed me a resealable plastic bag about the size of a fag packet, with what appeared to be a single piece of paper inside it. A blank piece of paper, as far as I could tell.
I held the bag up in front of me and gave it a right good staring at, more just to humour the guy than anything else, and after a few seconds he started drumming his fingers on the tabletop and nodding at me slowly.
‘That’ll do, eh?’ he said. ‘I suppose even a patter merchant like you knows when to call it a day.’
I lifted my eyes from what I imagined must be Exhibit A and fixed them on him instead.
‘Peacock and Bev are fantastic characters. Very excited to see them back’ – Graham Linehan
‘If Stuart David ever gives up the day job, pop music’s loss would be literature’s gain’ – The Times
Keep your eyes open for a competition to win signed copies coming soon.
Stuart David is at Aye Write on 15th March, 7.45 PM-8.45PM at the University of Glasgow Chapel. Book now