Paul JohnstonPaul Johnston
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Body Politic
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Body Politic

Now available as an ebook.

Author's Introduction

I started planning Body Politic in 1993, well before Scottish devolution became a hot political issue. I originally envisaged writing a police procedural set in Edinburgh (the works of Ian Rankin and Quintin Jardine hadn't cleaned up that corner of the market back then), but I couldn't get it to work. I was living in Greece, nostalgic about my home city, and the distance must have got in the way of the creative process. Then it occurred to me to move the story forward in time. Brilliant! That seemed to unblock me and the story quickly firmed up in my mind. Then I realised that I'd given myself the extra job of creating a whole new society. That took about two months and then the first draft poured out.

It didn't end up as a police procedural, though. I like reading that kind of novel and I enjoy cop movies, but I found the restrictions of having a protagonist who was locked into a rigid establishment hard to live with. I have a major problem with authority and I wanted my hero to be like that too - not because writers have to pour their soul into their writing, but because I wanted him to symbolise the individual standing up to faceless bureaucracy. That's why Quint became a demoted guardsman (i.e. policeman) who works as a private eye in his spare time, but knows how the establishment functions.

And so Quint and Enlightenment Edinburgh were born. Frequently asked question number one - why did you give him that ridiculous/ weird/ wonderful name? Well, his father was a classicist so naming the son after a Roman orator was logical. But more to the point, an unusual name is a good way to attract the reader's attention. The fact that it cuts down to Quint helps as well. (Remember the Robert Shaw character in Jaws?)

Winner of the Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Memorial Dagger for the best first crime novel of 1997

UK Hardback ISBN 0340694904 published July 1997
UK Paperback ISBN 0340694912 published March 1998, new edition June 2001
Unabridged audio recording ISBN 0754083810 read by Ewan Stewart, Chivers/ BBC Audiobooks
Foreign editions    
USA St Martin's Press 1999
Germany Knaur 2000
Denmark Modtryk 1999
Portugal Europa-America 1999
Japan   2001
Greece Periplous 2002

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