Acclaimed Tyrone author reveals secrets of inspiration on Belfast TV

Best-selling Tyrone author Anthony Quinn
Best-selling Tyrone author Anthony Quinn

Best-selling crime fiction writer Anthony Quinn discusses his influences and sources of inspiration on Belfast TV station NVTV tonight (Wednesday 11).

The half-hour long interview will be aired at 7.30pm on Freeview Channel 8 and Virgin Media cable, Channel 159. It will also be available for download at

The Tyrone based author has enjoyed critical success with his debut novel Disappeared, which is set along the loughshore of Tyrone and Armagh.

Introducing Celcius Daly, a Police Inspector laden with flawed judgment and misplaced loyalties, the book was selected by the Times, the Daily Mail and Strand Magazine as one of the best books of the year.

It was also shortlisted by the book critics of the Washington Post, the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and other US newspapers for a Strand Literary Award after its US publication, and was listed by Kirkus Reviews as one of the top ten thrillers of the year.

Border Angels, the sequel published in January, has already hit number one in the Australian Kindle download charts, and was picked by the Irish News as its Book of the Week.

Why did Quinn choose Co Armagh for the Daly stories? “It’s Lough Neagh, really,” he says. “It’s a hidden part of Northern Ireland. It’s almost a hidden lake in itself. Because the waterline has descended over the years it can’t be seen from the roads, even. So you have this very large body of water that’s like a void in the middle of the country.

“There’s a mystical sense to it, but also a kind of darkness. The gruesomeness of the bogs and the blackthorn hedges – and the sense that in these little parishes where murder has happened, loose little bits of the past are still floating around in the darkness. There’s a haunted sense that I wanted to come through.”

Disappeared places an elderly British spy – who is suffering from Alzheimer’s – at the centre of a web of unresolved intrigue. Rejected by a raft of UK publishers as being “too immersed in the Troubles”, the book was first published in New York, where it attracted a raft of praise that eventually brought it back across the Atlantic and on to books-of-the-year lists at the Daily Mail and the Times in 2014.

Quinn admits that his second book, Border Angels, set out to smash at least one crime-fiction staple. “I wanted to do something different from what you always see in detective fiction, which is a serial killer attacking females. So at the start a woman is often killed and then the supercop comes and works it all out.” In Border Angels it’s the woman, Lena Novak, who is clever and resourceful, while Daly is often bumbling along in her wake.”

Alongside his series of contemporary crime novels Anthony Quinn has embarked on a series of historical adventures featuring famous figures from Irish history. The first of these, ‘The Blood Dimmed Tide’, finds WB Yeats on the trail of a murderer.

“It was a wee bit of a holiday for me, from the darkness of the Celcius Daly books,” Quinn says. “Yeats is kind of like a Sherlock Holmes of the supernatural.”

It’s a complete accident that the book, published by No Exit Press, has appeared just as the high-profile “Yeats year” kicks off. But Quinn’s not complaining. Instead he’s at work on a second volume, ‘Blind Arrows’, about Michael Collins and the financial skulduggery around the war of independence.

Border Angels is published by Head of Zeus. Disappeared will be out in paperback in April