Author details

Malcolm Archibald


I was born in Edinburgh although currently live deep in the Moray countryside. Married to Cathy since 1980, I have three grown children. I am a researcher and a writer as well as working as a lecturer in Inverness College.

About writer's work

I write both historical fiction and nonfiction.  At present my nonfiction is concentrating on 19th century Scottish crime and the Scottish whaling industry. My fiction also has a criminal slant, with The Darkest Walk, a novel about a Victorian detective, being shortlisted for the Roma FilmFest in 2011 and an autumn winner of the People’s Book Prize. An earlier novel, Whales for the Wizard, won the 2005 Dundee Book Prize.

Current events and projects

The Dundee Whaling Industry is due out in June 2013; The Dundee Murders, a sequel to The Darkest Walk, is due to be published in August and Whisky Wars, Riots and Murder: Crime in the 19th century Highlands and Islands is to be published on 12 September 2013. I am available to give talks on Scottish Whaling, 19th century crime, nautical folklore, Queen Victoria’s Wars, the Boer War and the First World War.


Local authority where they are based


Local authorities where they can work

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian

Age groups


LL funded


BRAW network


Author type




Books written

Sixpence for the Wind

Author(s): Malcolm Archibald
An introduction to the field of sealore and the collected wisdom and superstition of seafarers.

Across the Pond

Author(s): Malcolm Archibald
An introduction to the nautical history of the North Atlantic. For centuries the Atlantic hemmed Europe behind its storms and mysterious breadth.


Author(s): Malcolm Archibald
Few trades were so demanding and dangerous as whaling.

Aspects of the Boer War

Author(s): Malcolm Archibald
The inspiration for the Selkirk trilogy, the original diary of Private Robert Brown from Methil, Fife, is printed verbatim.

Whales for the Wizard

Author(s): Malcolm Archibald
In 1860 after years in the army, Robert Douglas returns to Dundee and finds George Gilbride(the Wizard), a whaling ship owner, but falls foul of sinister gangster John Wylie.

Soldier of the Queen

Author(s): Malcolm Archibald
Partly based on real events, this book follows the fortunes of Drew Selkirk, a ploughboy from the Scottish Borders who joins the fictional Royal Borders Regiment.

Horseman of the Veldt

Author(s): Malcolm Archibald
Newly commissioned, Selkirk is ordered to form his own unit of irregular horse and treks across Africa to forestall a dangerous enemy incursion.