AN ACCLAIMED author has faced backlash after saying he sends characters he wants to get rid of off to Aberdeen – where they can “freeze to death”.
The lighthearted jibe by Alexander McCall Smith was made at the media launch of Bloody Scotland, a literary festival that celebrates crime fiction.
During the event, McCall Smith, who lives in Merchiston, Edinburgh said: “If you want to get rid of characters in a serial novel you have got to send them somewhere. I send any characters I don’t want to write about anymore to Aberdeen. They can freeze to death.”
He compared his ruthless attitude for disposing of characters to Australian soap’s such as Neighbours and Home and Away, adding: “In Australian soap operas when they want to get rid of characters they go to Brisbane.
“They go to Brissy and that’s the end of it.”
But the 69-year-old’s comments didn’t go down well with some including best-selling crime author Stuart MacBride, whose novels are famously set in the Granite City.
Referring to McCall Smith as Sandy, and mentioning his 44 Scotland Street series MacBride said: “I know exactly how to settle Sandy’s attempts to start an Aberdeen vs Edinburgh turf war.
“The next time I’m fed up with a character I’m exiling them to 43 Scotland Street. They can spend the rest of their days as Sandy’s neighbours, choking on fruit scones and Earl Grey. That’ll teach him.”
He added: “Aberdeen is a beautiful city with a magnificent beach and more pubs than you can shake a copy of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detectives Agency at.
“Right now the sky is blue and the buildings are sparkling.”
McCall Smith, renowned for his No. 1 Ladies’ Detectives Agency series, instigated laughter from the crowd when he said he disposes of characters in the oil and gas capital of Britain – known for its grey architecture and dreary weather.
MacBride, 49, will appear at the Bloody Scotland literary festival later in the year.