Author details

Marianne Wheelaghan


I'm from Edinburgh. I left home when I was seventeen and travelled extensively before returning to Edinburgh with my family.

From when I was very young I loved making up stories but only took this passion seriously a few years ago when I took a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Lancaster University – before that I had had many jobs, including being a croupier, a marketing manager for a company that sold warm air hand driers and a Brussels sprouts picker, but mostly I taught English in the Pacific. After finishing my degree I wanted to share my passion for writing stories with others and founded the very successful online creative writing school,, with a £500 grant from the Scottish Enterprise.

About writer's work

I write both crime and historic fiction and am interested in exploring themes to do with ‘home’ and 'place' as well as ‘identity’ in my writing.

Food of Ghosts and The Shoeshine Killer are my first two crime novels in the bestselling Scottish Lady Detective series and inspired by the time I spent in the Pacific. DS Louisa Townsend from Edinburgh is temporarily working on Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati. She is known locally as the Scottish Lady Detective. Townsend is impatient, often rude and has a reputation for doing things in a weird way but she can also be kind and thoughtful and gets things done when others can't. She also suffers from an obsessive compulsive disorder which she prefers to keep a secret. 

'The Scottish Lady Detective books are a more gritty Death in Paradise, with shades of Alexander McCall Smith in the often humorous, unfussy style of writing' - Killing Time

My first non crime novel is the bestselling The Blue Suitcase. It is inspired by letters and diaries I discovered after my mother’s death and tells the true life story of a Christian girl growing up in Silesia in Nazi Germany.

'We think by now that there can be no more untold stories from the 1930s and the Second World War. Then a book like this comes along and we are once again astonished by the capacity of some humans to do unspeakably cruel things, and of others to survive them. The simple, almost mundane tone of Antonia's diary makes The Blue Suitcase all the more shocking. It's hard to read, but harder to stop.' - James Robertson

Websites featuring the author

Marianne Wheelaghan: websitePilrig PressAmazon

Current events and projects

I have recently been working with libraries, secondary schools and corporate businesses and am happy to consider most types of events, including readings, talks, lectures, workshops, classroom activities etc, and work with audiences of all age groups.

Other work

See my blog for full details of what I am up to.


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, Other

Age groups


LL funded


BRAW network


Author type




Books written

The Shoeshine Killer

The Shoeshine Killer

Author(s): Marianne Wheelaghan
DS Louisa Townsend from Edinburgh works on Tarawa, a remote coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. She is known locally as the Scottish Lady Detective.
Food of ghosts book cover

Food of Ghosts

Author(s): Marianne Wheelaghan
DS Louisa Townsend from Edinburgh is feisty and fearless and miles away from home, on Tarawa, a tiny, remote island in the Pacific.
The Blue Suitcase

The Blue Suitcase

Author(s): Marianne Wheelaghan
It is 1932, Silesia, Germany, and the eve of Antonia's 12th birthday. Hitler's Brownshirts and Red Front Marxists are fighting each other in the streets.