Third degree: Tony Black

In the second of a new crimetimepreview series, habitual crime writers are tied to a chair and have the bright light shone in their face. Here, one of Scotland’s grittiest crime novelists, Tony Black, author of the Gus Dury series, comes clean…

Your favourite British crime series or thriller on TV?
I was really taken in by Prime Suspect, and have to say, I did like David Jason’s crumpled Frost, but I think what Life on Mars reminded me was how ballsy the 70s cop shows were… The Sweeney, The Professionals and so on, but you have to go some to beat the classic Minder. Pure klarse.

Favourite US crime series or thriller on TV?
TJ Hooker… I’m shitting you, has to be The Wire.

Top TV cop?
Of all time? Hmnnn… have to think about that. Not Frank Poncherello anyway…

Which unfilmed book/character should be made into a TV drama?
Alan Guthrie’s Two-Way Split is on the way there, can’t wait to see it.

If one of your novels were filmed, who would you cast to be the hero?
I’d love to see Dougray Scott play Gus Dury… he’s got the swagger and he’s a

What do you watch with a guilty conscience (or what’s your guilty pleasure)?
Not much … there’s so much crap out there these days that I make sure I want to
see anything I make the effort to watch.

Least favourite cop show/thriller?
The Bill… it’s a soap opera set in a polis station.

Do you prefer The Wire or The Sopranos?
Tough one… but The Wire by a nose.

Marple/Poirot or Sherlock Holmes?
Only Jeremy Brett’s Holmes. No thanks to the others.

Wallander – BBC or the original Swedish version?
I actually watched a few of the Kenneth Branagh ones – I’ve hated him in
everything else, remember Wild West (hahahaha!), but quite liked this.

Your favourite crime/thriller writers?
Peter Temple, Ken Bruen, Andrew Vachss.

Favourite non-crime/thriller author

Favourite crime movie or thriller?
Killing Zoe or Bullitt.

You’ve been framed for murder. Which fictional detective/sleuth would you want to call up?
Inspector Gadget.

• Tony Black’s latest novel, Long Time Dead, finds Gus Dury back on the skids, helping a pal who suspects dodgy goings-on in a recent murder.


  1. Great stuff, although Cracker is the best British crime series, surely?

  2. Oh yes, I forgot about Cracker. That was top notch.

  3. Nice interview: Tony is a top author and Gus Dury is a character I’d love to see on the small or big screen.

    There are a load of great Brit crime series, probably topped by The Sweeney but what about Public Eye and Callan – ouch, showing my age!

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