Skip to content


September 8, 2016

Criminal lawyer Robbie Munro is back home, living with his widowed, ex-policeman dad and his new found daughter, Tina. Life at the practice isn’t going well, neither is the love life he regularly confesses to his junior, Joanna. Then again, on the subject of Joanna, Robbie may be the last to know.  When one of his more dubious clients leaves a mysterious box for him to look after, and a helicopter comes down with two fatalities, events take a much more sinister turn, and all of this is complicated by the rape case he has to defend.


As I head for Bloody Scotland this weekend, a Scottish crime novel review to get us in the mood.

I’ve socialised at the bar with a few criminal advocates in my time and they always tell the best stories. So I was very pleased to have the opportunity to read an advance copy of Present Tense, the latest novel in the Best Defence mystery series. William McIntyre is a Scottish criminal lawyer and so is his protagonist, Robbie Munro. Robbie is a criminal solicitor whose Linlithgow practice survives by the grace of the Legal Aid Board; he is a jobbing solicitor doing his best to prove the innocence of his clients and flying by the seat of his pants.

Robbie is in his late 30’s and still lives with his father, a retired member of the Lothian and Borders police service and his young daughter, Tina. Robbie hasn’t been too lucky in love, but he loves his daughter. Robbie’s brother, Malcolm, used to be a professional footballer until an injury forced him out of the game and now he is a sports broadcaster. For all that they jibe at each other, the Munros are a pretty close knit family.

Robbie Munro is a pretty typical small firm lawyer, relying on legal aid cases to make his living, dealing with some tricky characters who might give pause for thought in social situations. So when the Legal Aid Board pays an unexpected audit visit his livelihood is put in jeopardy as they tell him he won’t be allowed to take on any more legal aid cases.

Robbie Munro, the star of the series, juggles his job, his young daughter, and his appalling love life. Written with a light touch and some lively humour, Present Tense deals with two cases; a helicopter crash in suspicious circumstances involving Billy Paris, an old client (breach of the peace and assault) who stops by Robbie’s office to leave a parcel in his safe keeping and who is subsequently found murdered . Billy had been working at a private airport on the north east coast of Scotland at St Edzell Bay, when a helicopter piloted by the son of millionaire owner of Thorn Aero Systems, Sir Philip Thorn, had crashed killing both Jerry Thorn and his girlfriend, Madeleine.  With the potential for the first spaceport in Scotland, there is government interest and involvement and for the Secretary of State, Kirkton Perch, one too many conspiracy theories are flying around.

The other case is at the High Court; a rape charge involving a sixteen-year-old girl and her neighbour being defended by his colleague and legal assistant, Joanna with the assistance of Fiona Faye Q.C.  Everything about this case has the ring of authenticity and indeed, in a touching tribute to the late Paul McBride Q.C., McIntyre recounts in his author’s note the tale of a very similar case he was involved in earlier in his career.

I enjoyed the warmth and dry humour that flows through this book as well as the laughably disastrous love life of Robbie Munro. But what makes it most enjoyable is the totally authentic way in which the Scottish criminal justice system is portrayed and especially the interaction between the lawyers, the police and others involved in the legal process.

Present Tense is a gentle and enjoyable contribution to the tartan noir genre. I hadn’t read any of the previous novels and this worked fine as a stand alone.

Present Tense is published by Sandstone Press on 15th September.

My thanks to the publisher for an advance copy – this has not influenced my review.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cal Turner Reviews

Living life one book at a time...

Baker's Not So Secret Blog

Book reviews and more

Teapot Tucker

A Book and a Brew Will See You Through


Lover of books and book reviewer. Usually found curled up with a book.

The Annual Bloggers Bash

The Official Website for the Best Blogging Event of the Year!

The Bibliofile

Book Reviews, Books, Bestsellers, Literary Fiction

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

Daily (w)rite

Damyanti Biswas is an author, blogger, animal-lover, spiritualist. Her work is represented by Ed Wilson from the Johnson & Alcock agency. When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book, or baking up a storm.

Being Anne...

Books, travel, and other things that make life interesting

Books in my Handbag Blog

"I love your book blog and am honoured to be there amongst such class" - Carol Drinkwater, Apr 2017

Short Book and Scribes

To the point book reviews and other bookish stuff

Bucks, Books & Beyond

This blog is for me to share with you where books have taken me recently.

Sandy's Book a Day Blog

A book a day is bliss😍

Over The Rainbow Book Blog

Book reviews and ramblings from a book mad mum of three!

Raven Crime Reads

Criminally good reads...


Live the life of a reader

A Knight's Reads

All things bookish

%d bloggers like this: