Award-winning crime fiction writer Val McDermid talks to Nicolette Jones about her latest novel, The Vanishing Point, and her life as a writer. The novel opens with Stephanie Harker taken to one side at an airport security gate, screaming as five-year-old Jimmy is led away by a uniformed officer. The shouts are misinterpreted and Stephanie is brutally tasered as Jimmy disappears with his abductor. Ultimately, the novel is a tale of how far a parent will go to protect a child.
McDermid is a former journalist who is now a full-time writer of crime fiction, plays, non-fiction and a children’s book. Her best known leading characters are journalist Lindsay Gordon, private investigator Kate Brannigan, and psychologist Tony Hill. Her work is often considered to be part of the ‘Tartan noir’ crime fiction genre.
Both McDermid and Jones, children’s and young people’s programme director of the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival, are graduates of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and this event is part of the festival’s St Hilda’s day.