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The Papers of Tony Veitch (Jack Laidlaw #2)

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  287 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
The dying words of an alcoholic tramp set Jack Laidlaw onto the trail of a certain Tony Veitch, a young Glasgow student who he discovers has been missing for several days. This book is the sequel to Laidlaw and was the winner of the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger Award.
Published February 12th 1984 by Pantheon (first published 1983)
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Tartan Noir
77th out of 244 books — 91 voters
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Best Police Procedurals - Mystery Fiction
342nd out of 746 books — 447 voters

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Community Reviews

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Nov 01, 2015 Antonomasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[4.5] Every bit as good as Laidlaw, book one in the series (which I gave five stars) - only I'm not sure these benefit from being read quite so close together. They were written six years apart, after all. The earlier book's greatest strength was its existential depth, whilst here the plot is sharper and more taut. This isn't the first crime series in which I've noticed an author reusing a theme or structure so it felt as if they were, on some level, rewriting and improving on aspects of an earl ...more
Jan 20, 2014 Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A love letter to a city…

Tony Veitch has disappeared and it seems like half the city is looking for him. Laidlaw’s one of the searchers. He knows why he’s looking for Tony – his name’s come up in connection with Eck Adamson, a drunk and down-and-out, now dead; and it seems Laidlaw’s the only man who cares. But Laidlaw doesn’t know why some of Glasgow’s hardest men seem to be wanting to find Veitch too, and the question is – who’ll find him first?

After being stunned by the first in the trilogy, La
Nov 13, 2015 AC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
A good solid mystery/noir, though it lacks the searing intensity and weird originality of the first volume (Laidlaw)
Xabier Cid
Feb 23, 2016 Xabier Cid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for:
Recommended to Xabier by: St Ninians Library Book Club
I have heard many times that sentence of being more fun a funeral in Glasgow than a wedding in Edinburgh, and I could not be certain about what was first, if Glasgow as a myth of a city of violence, gangs and humour, summarized in that comparison between the two rival cities, or Laidlaw and McIlvanney's novels; it looks to me as hard to split one of the other as it is to separate Scotland from Scott.
As I really love Glasgow, this is a novel I also must love. Violent, and very hard to read for a
Sep 24, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this even more than the first Laidlaw book, and that's saying quite a bit.

The plotting is interesting - an elderly alcoholic summons Laidlaw to his deathbed. Laidlaw, of course, is the only cop who thinks there might be something other than alcohol involved and insists on a post-mortem. There was paraquat, but why? Who would dislike the old man enough to do that or what did he know that posed a threat to someone. What was the connection between him and the missing wealthy student Tony Ve
Rob Kitchin
Feb 23, 2014 Rob Kitchin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve only read two William McIlvanney books so far, but he’s quickly become one of my favourite authors. Rather than telling linear tales in workmanlike prose that relies on melodrama or fast-paced action sequences to keep the reader’s attention, McIlvanney creates a layered, thoughtful story, rich in observational and philosophical asides told through evocative prose that has a nice cadence and vividly conveys the local dialect. It is a world full of greys, rather than black and whites, with La ...more
Apr 24, 2015 Tuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, europa
a three way........investigation of murder(s), corruption, and fuped family interpersonal relationships. 3way? yes, the cop, the thug group #1, the thug group#2 are all trying to figure out who killed who, and why.
this is the 2nd laidlaw noir police procedural set in glasgow. the 3rd due out in usa spring 2015. besides being a smart, literary-like writing, author tries hard to explain the uniqueness of glasgow and why 'they act the way they do'.
May 04, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it
I think WM maybe one of the very best English-language crime writers alive ... That said, I had a bit of a problem following the plot here. And I'm willing to take resp. for that ... It wasn't super-clear to me why the papers of Tony Veitch were impt, and I have to say, keeping the rival Glasgow gangs, and their complicated allegiances, straight, was a challenge for me. Cdn't they have worn, like, pinneys, or something?
Feb 05, 2016 Antenna rated it liked it
The second in a series of novels involving Detective Jack Laidlaw, this can be read as a freestanding novel.

From one angle, it has a hackneyed plot involving the familiar maverick detective with a dysfunctional family life, who cannot rest if he feels that the suspicious death of an alcoholic tramp is being discounted as unimportant, or until he has pursued his hunch that an ambitious colleague’s desire for a quick win is leading to the pinning of a couple of murders on the wrong man, who being
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ein Obdachloser wird schwerkrank in die Klinik von Glasgow eingeliefert. Immer wieder verlangt er nach Jack Laidlaw. Doch als der Polizist das Krankenhaus erreicht ist es fast schon zu spät, Eck, wie der Alter genannt wurde, kann ihm nur noch ein paar schwer verständliche Worte zu stammeln bevor er verstirbt. Sollte zwischen diesem Todesfall und einem weiteren Opfer, das mit mehrfachen Stichverletzungen aufgefunden wurde, ein Zusammenhang bestehen. Laidlaw hegt jedenfalls den Verdach
Matthew Fray
Aug 03, 2015 Matthew Fray rated it it was amazing
I stayed on the bus to the end-of-the-line to finish this and still hadn't finished it so sat down in the shopping centre and completed the job. Great first line; "It was Glasgow on a saturday night, the city of the stare." And it gets better from there. I love McIlvanney's prose, he describes almost everything and everyone but concisely. And picks the right words but not the one's you expect. He's got a great line in similies and knows how to use a metaphor (suddenly I sound all "wild west"); " ...more
Roger Brunyate
Jun 06, 2016 Roger Brunyate rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries-kinda
Cops and Crooks on the Clyde
Detective work was a delicate symbiosis with the criminal world, a balancing of subtle mutual respects.
In other words, with a foot in each camp. Which pretty well sums up the attitude of both McIlvanney and his detective, Jack Laidlaw. Except that the words "delicate" and "subtle" apply incongruously to Glasgow, a tough but vibrant city that "danced among its own debris." I lived there in the sixties, and knew many of the haunts McIlvanney describes in this novel of 1
Harry Allagree
The Telegraph has tagged William McIlvanney as "The finest Scottish novelist of our time...a writer to be cherished." His novels, featuring the character Jack Laidlaw, are widely viewed the best of Scottish crime writing, often referred to as "Tartan Noir". I couldn't agree more, having read two of the Laidlaw series. The plots & characters are masterful & capture one's interest from first to last page. The artistry of McIlvanney's writing is exquisite, not to mention his unbeatable humo ...more
Ian Mapp
Aug 10, 2015 Ian Mapp rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Second in the Laidlaw Series - written in 1983.

McIlvanney is an intelligent writer that weaves a complex plot. He has a great turn of phrase and lashing of Glaswegian humour that makes part of the prose sound like a literary version of "Still Game".

Something went wrong for me in reading the book. I must have failed to concentrate at key moments. As I crime novel, I was hopelessly lost in how the investigation went. I knew that a tramp had been poisoned and Laidlaw treats all humans as equal. You
Aug 25, 2014 CuteBadger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second in the Laidlaw series from William McIlvaney and another masterclass in Tartan Noir. The plot drives you through the book, but more important than that is the rich, multi-layered writing, the wonderfully drawn, dark Glasgow cityscape, the gallows humour and the thoughts of Jack Laidlaw. The novel ponders on the personality of the Scots and their view of the world, as well as on crime, punishment, and the meaning of life. A fantastic read.
Jul 09, 2015 Mike rated it it was amazing
I think I enjoyed this sequel to Laidlaw better than the original book. Again it has a convoluted plot, but the characters are wonderfully drawn, and the dialogue is full of rich Glaswegian humour. McIlvanney's writing is superb, and I'm tempted to get a copy of the book on Kindle just so I can highlight the sections that really struck me while reading it.

Gareth Evans
Dec 04, 2014 Gareth Evans rated it liked it
The second Laidlaw novel has many high spots: real menace; deft literary touches; and a well-worked plot. However, it doesn't gel together especially well, the literary touches, deft as they are, sometime detract from the action. Too many good things, pulling in different directions. However, it is a very different take on genre fiction.
Daniel Polansky
Yes. Uhhhhhh... I think like a year has passed and he's divorced his wife at this point? Honestly for the life of me I can't remember anything about this. Glasgow doesn't improve much in the interim. Laidlaw is more Laidlawish. I dunno.
Dec 07, 2015 Harry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
»Hätte man die Atmosphäre in Flaschen abgefüllt, man hätte Molotowcocktails bekommen.« Ein Roman wie Straßenstaub. Man wird ihn nur schwer wieder los. Auch der ursprünglich 1983 erschienene zweite Teil der Laidlaw-Trilogie ist ein sprachliches Meisterwerk. Zwar ist »Die Suche nach Tony Veitch« nicht ganz so stark wie der fantastische erste Band, aber noch immer um Welten besser als das Gros der damaligen und auch heutigen Kriminalliteratur. In der jetzt bei Antje Kunstmann erschienenen Neuüberse ...more
Norah Robb
A follow up to Laidlaw which was brilliant and clearly pointed the way for the newer tartan noir writers like Rankin May be a bit of a struggle for non-Scots. Publisher needs to add an E version with lots of help screens. (Actually I am a Scot but not a Glaswegian. I'm taking it slow with a Scots Dictionary at the ready!!) Example "Wimpey reefer" took me a while. I'm thinking hamburgers? drugs? before I recall "reefer" is a jacket and "Wimpey" a construction company. Got to buy a copy when it's ...more
Keith Evans
Jun 06, 2015 Keith Evans rated it really liked it
Hard boiled and tragic with the city of Glasgow a real character that contributes towards events in a discernible way. Laid law is a white knight in a world of lowlifes.
Iain Murray
Apr 04, 2015 Iain Murray rated it it was amazing
one of my all time favourite Scottish books, an an excellent central character and plenty interesting detail
Jack Laschenski
Apr 05, 2016 Jack Laschenski rated it it was amazing
Dark murder, twisted motives and a tortured soul!
Colin Slider
took a bit of effort to get into this. its written in the first person so thats a drastic change from the first two Laidlaw books but the technique does allow us to get a deeper understanding of Laidlaws thought process and motivations.
Jan 03, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laidlaw was very, very good, this isn't better but it continues the best of Laidlaw, the philosophy the self-questioning and the twists of plot, the random bleaknesses of life. I wonder how this feels so fresh and up-to-the minute for somethig published in 1985 when other books, less than half a dozen years ago, feel already-aged. So, so satisfying.
Mar 07, 2014 Justin rated it really liked it
Authentic, frantically paced story which pushes you to race through this book. Another great read.
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Jun 28, 2016
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Jun 27, 2016
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Jun 24, 2016
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Jun 20, 2016
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William McIlvanney was a Scottish writer of novels, short stories, and poetry. He was a champion of gritty yet poetic literature; his works Laidlaw, The Papers of Tony Veitch, and Walking Wounded are all known for their portrayal of Glasgow in the 1970s. He is regarded as "the father of 'Tartan Noir’" and has been described as "Scotland's Camus".

His first book, Remedy is None, was published in 196
More about William McIlvanney...

Other Books in the Series

Jack Laidlaw (3 books)
  • Laidlaw (Jack Laidlaw, #1)
  • Strange Loyalties (Jack Laidlaw, #3)

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“Coulda made something o’ himself. But a luckless man. All his days a luckless man. The kinna man woulda got two complimentary tickets for the Titanic.” The unintentional humour of her remark was like her natural appetite for life reasserting itself. Harkness couldn’t stop smiling. It was as if Glasgow couldn’t shut the wryness of its mouth even at the edge of the grave.” 0 likes
“From his vantage point in Ruchill Park, Laidlaw looked out over the city. He could see so much of it from here and still it baffled him. ‘What is this place?’ he thought.

A small and great city, his mind answered. A city with its face against the wind. That made it grimace. But did it have to be so hard? Sometimes it felt so hard…It was a place so kind it would batter cruelty into the ground. And what circumstances kept giving it was cruelty. No wonder he loved it. It danced among its own debris. When Glasgow gave up, the world could call it a day.”
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