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William McIlvanney dead; Scottish crime author was 79

Author William McIlvanney at the Edinburgh International Book

Author William McIlvanney at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in Scotland on Aug. 16, 2014. The Scottish writer behind the "Laidlaw" triology has died at age 79. Photo Credit: AP / Gary Doak

LONDON — Scottish writer William McIlvanney, best known for his detective novel “Laidlaw” — called the first book of “Tartan Noir” by some — has died at 79.

His agent Jenny Brown said he died at his home in Glasgow on Saturday after a short illness.

McIlvanney, born in the town of Kilmarnock, was the son of a miner. He became an English teacher before changing careers in 1975 to write full time.

He is known for the “Laidlaw” trilogy, a crime series featuring Inspector Jack Laidlaw. Other works included “The Big Man,” made into a film starring Liam Neeson, as well as poetry and journalism.

Among his fans was Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who tweeted: “His writing meant so much to me when I was growing up. RIP.”

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