Peter Ranscombe was a journalist with The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday newspapers in Edinburgh, writing about cutting-edge life science companies, the growth of micro-brewers and whisky distillers, and Scotland’s iconic wildlife.
Born and raised in Nairn in the Highlands of Scotland, he gained a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of St Andrews and then a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University. He now lives in Musselburgh.
As a young writer, he won awards for his poetry and short stories, with his work being published in various anthologies. Fiction was always his first love.
Peter’s first novel to be published, Hare (Knox Robinson 2014) , addresses the question ‘What happpened to William Hare after his partner-in-crime, William Burke, was hanged for a series of murders in Edinburgh in 1829?’ The murders that were carried out by Burke and Hare are historical fact, but in Hare, Peter creates a story that finds Hare in Boston during the early years of the American Civil War where a series of murders places him under suspicion once again.
“An ingenious plot told in such a compelling way that you’ll lose track of time, a vivid sense of the past, and characters you can believe in – Peter Ranscombe’s Hare marks the arrival of a major talent.”
David Robinson, Books Editor, The Scotsman
When William Burke was hanged in Edinburgh for mass murder in 1829, his accomplice, William Hare, was set free after turning king's evidence against his partner-in-crime. Fleeing from a potential lynching in the Scottish capital, Hare headed for London, where rumours spread of his death in a lime pit at the hands of an angry mob.
Thirty-four years later, a series of murders in Boston terrifies the public and thrusts the city's police force into a desperate search for the killer. When Hare is found working as a labourer on Boston's latest canal-building project, Captain Alexander Gillespie believes he has his man, the same murderer he chased through the streets of Edinburgh during his first year with the police.
But as the slayings continue, Gillespie must turn Hare loose and use the mind of one killer to catch another. From the oak-panelled studies of Massachusetts's universities to the grimy underworld of the city's docks, Gillespie and Hare must pursue a shadowy villain before he strikes again. Against the backdrop of the American Civil War, their search leads them closer to the killer and into the heart of a desperate plot that could threaten the very future of the United States itself.
“Ranscombe explores the theory that it takes a killer to catch a killer in his stunning debut novel, Hare. The grizzly tale of Edinburgh mass murders William Burke and William Hare is familiar to most people. But few will know that, while Burke was hanged for his crimes, Hare turned king’s evidence and walked away a free man. This fast-paced story set against the backdrop of Boston during the American Civil War sees Hare come to the aid of his old adversary, Captain Alexander Gillespie, to help the police solve a series of mysterious murders in the city. This dark and atmospheric thriller is an absolute must-read for fans of crime fiction. Ranscombe proves himself to be the new kid on the tartan noir block and succeeds in creating a hero from one of history’s most hated serial killers, showing that the darker side of human nature can exist alongside honour and conscience. The narrative is compelling and the characterisation believable, making Hare difficult to put down. I quickly found myself buckled in and happily racing headlong with the plot to its explosive conclusion.”
Morag Bootland, Staff Writer, Scottish Field