POLITICAL blogger Peter Curran’s “old age” is not turning out quite the way he planned.

Instead of “taking the dugs out and dribbling down his cardy” the newly turned octogenarian has just written a murder mystery set against the background of the Yes campaign.

Published to coincide with the anniversary of last year’s independence vote, The Referendum Murders is a fictional political drama set in well-known locations in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

“It is an attempt to capture ordinary Scots becoming extraordinary as they become actors in a great political drama at a unique moment in Scotland’s – and Britain’s – history, interacting with forces beyond their control, some of which have malign intent,” said Curran.

“These murders never happened in 2014 – the Referendum campaign was singularly free of violence – but the night after it ended was marked by disgraceful violence in Glasgow’s iconic George Square. I have not attempted to depict that – the memory of it is too painful for those who were at the receiving end of it.”

Boasting a striking cover designed by Greg Moodie, The National’s cartoonist, the book was written in one month after Moodie’s partner, Rose Garnett, read the first chapter and encouraged Curran to finish it.

Realising it would be best to release it to coincide with the first anniversary of the Referendum, Curran then had four weeks to complete 50,000 words.


As a new great granddad – “I thought I was already a ‘great’ granddad” – he could have been forgiven for spending his time with his family, but started writing the first chapter after being inspired by the sheer diversity of people involved in the Yes campaign, from the political veterans to those who saw independence as the best way to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.

“I’ve tried to capture the wonderful range of people involved in the campaign, and the book sets an ordinary Glaswegian family and an ordinary Edinburgh family against a background of real events,” he said.

Curran is particularly proud of two characters, the first of whom is a typical Labour spin doctor, “the kind of person who had five minutes with Jack McConnell back in 2001 and has been trading on that ever since”. The second is a journalist on The Daily Brit, an upper class Scot called Piers McSorley-Duff but more widely known as “the shit from the Brit”.

In the following extract, Piers responds to a query by Niall O'Corran, a Kelvinside artist of “unusual talents”, who has challenged his use of ‘Eck’ as a name for Alex Salmond...

“You know damn fine who Eck is. It’s a fine old proletarian form of Alec – pulled out of Al, Eck, Zander. Wee Eck in Oor Wullie. And there can be only one Alec at the moment.”

“But in your mouth and in the columns of your newspaper, Eck is a derogatory term, a contemptuous diminutive – a sneer. Is it not?” Angus’s tone was now even more unyielding. “Or perhaps you were thinking of one of the Ecks of days of yore? Eck Graham Bell? Sir Eck Douglas-Home, skull-like Baron of the Hirsel – or maybe even Eck the Third of Macedon, Eck the Great? But have I misinterpreted your intent – can your use of Eck be a signifier of your deep affection, of your hidden warm feelings towards our First Minister, a love that dare not speak its name?”

The book uses backdrops readers with which will be familiar such as The Diggers and The Doric pubs in Edinburgh and the Millennium Hotel in Glasgow.

Humour comes via the dialogue, which is mostly in the Glaswegian vernacular.

“I was told that would be the kiss of death for the book but I don’t give a bugger,” said Curran. “It’s the way I speak and most Glasgwegians are bilingual.”

It did cause him some problems when he tried to upload the book on to Amazon, however.

“First it said I had a typo with ‘fitba’, so I had to email them back, then they said they had discovered a typo with ‘disnae’ so I had to email them back”, he said. “Finally they said they had found a typo in ‘bugger aff’ so I told them to bugger aff and I haven’t heard from them since.”


This is not Curran’s first book. In 2005 he published The Ancient Order of Moridura, another thriller which the author says did “naff all” but is still available as an ebook.

He is more well-known for his political blog, which he started in 2008, becoming one of the first bloggers in the independence campaign.

Since then he has blogged more than one million words and also has 1,600 postings on YouTube, a remarkable output in favour of independence considering he only joined the SNP in 2008.

Born into a Labour-supporting family living in a Dennistoun tenement before the Second World War, Curran remembers campaigning on behalf of the party in the 1945 election when he was just 10 years old.

He continued supporting Labour during his working life, which began with National Service then continued with a brief but glorious musical interlude with the Alex Harvey’s Kansas City Counts, where he played saxophone and “starved”.

He left before the band became Sensational and worked for Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company at Garscadden for 14 years before joining Scottish & Newcastle for another 14 years – spending the last five as personnel director with Scottish Brewers before setting up on his own as a negotiating skills consultant.

It was the Iraq War that ended his support for Labour. “I had been deeply sceptical of the achievements of Labour party in Glasgow and was prepared to overlook that, but the Iraq War was the last straw,” said Curran.

He joined the SNP but left again over the decision to remain in Nato. He then reconsidered, since the party was still committed to getting rid of Trident. Since then he has campaigned relentlessly for independence and shows no sign of stopping.

The Referendum Murders is available on Amazon