About Peter May

Peter May is a Scot living in France.  Winner of two major French literary awards, May’s books have also won Crime Novel of the Year awards in France, Scotland, the UK, and the United States.

With more than 4 million copies of his books sold, he is best known for his acclaimed “Lewis Trilogy“, set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. His series of  six “China Thrillers” and six France-based “Enzo Files” are currently enjoying best-selling success in reprints.

His most recent works have been the standalone stories: “Entry Island“, “Runaway“, “Coffin Road“,  and “I’ll Keep You Safe“.

Peter May started his writing career as a journalist, winning a national award at the age of 21. Still in his twenties, he switched to writing drama for UK television. He created three major drama serials in the UK and has credits for scriptwriting or producing more than 1,000 episodes of ratings-topping shows. He quit TV in the 1990s to concentrate on his first love, writing books.


The opening book in “The Lewis Trilogy”, “The Blackhouse” was published first in France as “L’Ile de Chasseurs d”Oiseaux” where it won one of the world’s biggest readers’ prizes, the French Literary award the Cezam Prix Litteraire and was described in France’s “L’Humanité” as “a masterpiece”

“The Blackhouse” was published in he UK by Quercus and spent 9 weeks in the UK best seller charts.

After reading “The Blackhouse” Marilyn Stasio of the New York Times was moved to write: “Peter May is a writer I’d follow to the ends of the earth.”

from The Book Depository


Inter-act with Peter May on Facebook


55 Responses to About Peter May

  1. Helen McGill says:

    Just reading The Blackhouse now…wonderful storytelling enhanced by clever narrative structure.
    I wait with interest to find out where you’ll go in terms of a trilogy.

    • maypeter says:

      This might come up twice, Helen. But it was difficult at first to contemplate turning a one-of into a trilogy.m but I am happy with the results, and you can judge for yourself when The Lewis Man comes out in February. Thanks for your kind words.

  2. Joan says:

    I loved each book in the trilogy – I practically read each one in a single sitting! I moved immediately onto the China thrillers, and have only Chinese Whispers left to read. I had to buy that and Firemaker kindle versions, and scoured the net for 2nd hand versions of the others as, for some reason, new books are currently unavailable. Such is my addiction to your talent, Mr. May, that I now am trying to track down copies of the Enzo Files. Not only are they out of print, they are also out of kindle! So far, I have only managed to find Freeze Frame online, and some audio versions of Dry Bones. Wish me luck in my quest. I’m delighted to hear that you are beginning a new series and that the first one will be published next year. I very much look forward to that! Thank you for the many very contented hours you have given me.

    • Hi Joan, I’m delighted you are enjoying my books. All of the China series are available on Kindle, and will come out early next year in new paperback editions. The Enzo series has never been published in the UK, but will come out later this year, both in Kindle and in paperback. I have still to write the final book in that series. Another, standalone, book “Virtually Dead”, which was published in the States, will also be made available soon in the UK. My next novel is also a standalone, not a series, and will be out next January. A photo companion book for the trilogy, called “Hebrides”, will be out in October.

  3. Joan says:

    Thanks very much for all this very useful, and very welcome information. I’m so pleased the Enzo series is finally to be published here and I really look forward to your new book early next year. I hope your muse allows you to rest a little before you begin again! I’m wondering when an enterprising producer will realise what a wonderful film Chessmen could make. In the right hands it would be terrific – so much would lend itself to great cinema. Obviously The Blackhouse would not be politically correct because of the Gulag hunt, and Lewisman perhaps needs the references to it, but Chessmen has everything for a very wide audience. Anyway, enjoy some relaxation now your manuscript has been sent!

  4. David McDowell says:

    I would love to see one or more of the books made into a film. However I would be concerned that the fixation of film with having something happen every five minutest and the format might not do justice to the wonderful books. The books transported me to a totally engrossing island world, the Black House being read in one day as a result. I have never done that before. I doubt if a film could match that feeling but I might be pleasantly surprised.

  5. Christine Parkinson says:

    mixed feelings. would love film/s but not at the expense of great story spoiled or setting compromised.

  6. Philippe says:

    Hello Peter,
    I happen first to read the 5th tome of the chinese serie and then i had to buy the whole serie -witch i read within two weeks- and now the scotisch serie.
    These books are great books! There are fascinating about China and Schottland also.
    I want now to go to these lands to see and ‘humer l’atmosphère’.
    Thanks a lot for these stories,
    And have a nice day
    Philippe from france

  7. Lil Jackson. says:

    dear Peter, so so much enjoyed your latest book,now what do I do, gone back to the Chinese thrillers. Reading Ill be there for you was lovely as we went to Lewis and Harris ,10 of us about 4 y
    ears ago, we are in the Arthur Ransome Socy. and we stayed for 5 days in Uig Lodge. what a thrill that was to see everywhere you have been.only sad we didnt have the time to get to Ness,my late mother in laws surname.before she was married. hurry up what is next??? best wishes to you, Lil Jackson., Wirral ,England.

    • Very pleased you enjoyed it, Lil. There will be a book out next January called “The Man With No Face”, and in the meantime I will be working on my next novel – don’t know what it is yet 🙂

  8. Janice mcnamara says:

    Just read you were in lewis January wish I had been there.just read trilogy stirred my genes to want to go my Morrison ansesters came from there and now I can’t settle Janice

  9. Roxanne says:

    I really enjoyed the Lewis Series, and Enzo Files, but have mixed feelings on two of the stand-alones, but the writing does draw you in. I finally have time to read through the China thrillers, and really enjoyed your intro to the series, as I could relate to each of the time periods you mentioned. I can deal with the time shifts – things happening in the late 1990s that may have been more common in the early 1990s. However, I was disappointed yesterday , while reading The Fourth Sacrifice, to come across them eating pork dumplings at a Muslim restaurant – something you’d never find, while a character stresses they wouldn’t be able to get alcohol.
    I am looking forward, however, to seeing more of China through the eyes of Margaret and LiYan.

    • Hi Roxanne, glad you’re enjoying the books. I know about the pork dumplings and can’t begin to fathom how that happened. The meal in the Muslim Quarter that I describe in the book is the meal I had there myself. It’s scheduled for correction in the next edition.

  10. Patrick McNamee says:

    Just finished reading The Lewis Man. I have a question: how did Donald know where to find Fin and Marsaili?

  11. Thomas says:

    Hi Peter just reading Coffin Road and was intrigued to see the reference to Springburn Academy and also Hillhouse Street. I went to Albert the schools name before it changed to Springburn Academy and bought my first flat in Hillhouse Street. Just wondered why you choose those to include in the novel.

  12. Christian says:

    Hello Peter. While planning a 3-week tour of the Outer Hebrides (and Skye) earlier this year, I discovered your book “Hebrides” which led to your Lewis trilogy and Coffin Road, I’ll Keep you Safe, and Entry Island. Your novels gave us tremendous insight on Hebridean history and culture which made our visit this past September ten times more interesting. I particularly appreciate how you wove the history and culture into very fine story lines all while not unnecessarily repeating the background in every novel. We spent a lot time having great conversations with the locals who were surprised to see how much we knew about the islands (many have read your books and those who hadn’t will now do so!).

    On top of that, we are native Montrealers and we’ve been to les Isles de la Madeleine (and of course the Eastern Townships) so Entry Isle was a most enjoyable bonus. My wife is French Canadian and has read all of the French versions of these books. So not only did we learn a tremendous amount about the Hebrides, but about the Scots who settled in Quebec as well.

    So a hearty thank you for your fine novels (we’ll move on to the others now). Please have a look at https://christiant.smugmug.com/Trips/Scotland/ for some of the images I came away with.


  13. Linda Dooks says:

    Just reading the man with no face
    And as always with your books I don’t read
    Them straightaway or rather I leave them until I cannot resist them any longer then I don’t want to get to the end !

    Thank you for the journeys

  14. Jeneba says:

    I just returned from Mull and was mesmerized by the landscape. Your wonderful descriptions are helping me to understand the magic of the Hebrides even more fully. And your frank descriptions of the harshness of living there is preventing me from being overwhelmed with romanticism. And, of course, thank you so much for the complex people you have introduced

  15. Lily-Maie Scott says:

    I’ve quite recently found Peter May as an author, and I’m totally hooked. It’s almost like being on the islands, though I doubt even my vivid imagination could do them justice. Sadly my now disabilities won’t allow me to go there, but reading the books transports me there. Thank you for such marvelous writings.

  16. Lily-Maie Scott says:

    Thank you so very much, that is incredibly kind of you. I have spent an hour looking at the photo’s, and they are wonderful. I love the transition between colour and black and white. You are one of the very few people on the earth who brought me to tears with your kindness, it has made such a difference to see these.



  17. Barbara McClellan says:

    I just finished LockDown and absolutely loved it but I have to know what happened to MacNeil??
    In addition I have all your other books too. Great books

    • I wrote this fifteen years ago, Barbara, so I’ve no idea what happened to MacNeil. But I imagine that although he had lost his dose of FluKill, given the circumstances of the case he would have been given another FluKill treatment, along with Amy. And since they were both fit, strong young people, they probably survived and are living happily together somewhere in the north of Scotland.

      • Barbara says:

        Thank you. Now I feel better. 🙂 Did love the book and all your others.

      • Hello Peter,
        I also just finished LockDown and having experienced the lockdown in Montreal since early March, I found it uncanny how you were bang on in your descriptions of shuttered businesses, empty streets, frightened people, death, etc. I’d say the only thing you missed was the toilet paper hoarding! Thanks for publishing it.
        Cheers and keep well,
        Christian (the photographer who followed you to the Outer Hebrides).

      • Cheers, Christian!

      • Lily-Maie says:

        I loved the book too, amazing that you had that foresight so long ago.

  18. Anita Nicholson says:

    Just finished the lewis trilogy, cried at the end of the the final book. The beauty of the settings and the strong characters, had me transported to the end. One day I will have to visit the area, once I’ve saved up, and I hope it is as fascinating as your beautiful books. Thank you.

  19. Kate Dewar says:

    I have just finished ‘The Critic’. An excellent story spoiled by the un-necessary torture and death of a puppy. Why do authors do this? It spoilt the whole book for me and I wouldn’t have read it if I had known about it. It did not add to the story and in fact you don’t find out why it was done. I had just thought I had found an interesting new character but it has gone and ruined it for me.

    • The killing of the dog (bear in mind that no animals were actually harmed in the writing of this book), was designed to motivate Enzo’s horror and anger – the killer did it to make him reckless. It makes a strong statement about the character of both. There was, at the time, an unexpected (to me) outcry from some readers, and I have made a point of never killing an animal again in any of my books. It is worth, however, contemplating on the fact that readers seems impervious to the horrible murders of human beings, yet are strangely squeamish about any harm inflicted on an animal. Personally, I wish to harm to man or beast, and would remind everyone that these are just stories. No harm is done to anyone.

      • Lily-Maie says:

        Knowing that murderers harm animals while they are children, this would make a lot of sense to me. I agree with you about the fact that people are more squeamish about animal killers are more vilified than human killers. I recently read a book by Stephen King where children were both harmed, tortured, and murdered, and nothing at all was said about that! Please people, put things in perspective, and read the book for what it is – a story,

      • Kate says:

        Thank you for your reply. Ian glad to hear that you haven’t killed off any other animals in the rest of your books – it means I can read them now. Personally if a story described a murder of a human being in gruesome detail I wouldn’t read it, same with films – I don’t watch horror films for the same reason. Quite frequently when describing animal death the author will go into much more detail and that will spoil it for me. John Sandford wrote a book in which an assassin shoots his own dog- he described it too much. I never finished the book and it took me a long time to go back to reading his work. Also if you are reading a murder mystery you expect someone to die so you are sort of prepared.
        Thank you for your time. Kate

  20. Joan Brennan says:

    Yikes!!!! This is the only book of yours I’ve yet to read – and now you’ve given the ultimate spoiler. Please please take this post down before the enjoyment of this novel is spoiled for others. Thanks, Peter x

  21. Jonathan says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed’Lockdown’ just can’t believe no one would publish it 16 years ago! Last week the BBC aired a program about peat cutting on Lewis which was true to form from your books (it’s hard labour!). Would love to see the Lewis Trilogy brought to the big screen. Anyway about to start ‘The Chess Men’ before picking up ‘The Killing Room’ crisscrossing between series. Thank you for your wonderful talent as a writer Peter.

  22. Patricia Smurthwaite says:

    I have been a late comer to your books but have just read all the enzo ones. We really love France so great to read about the different regions.
    Just starting on a silent death and noticed page 69 should be the word solid not olid. Really enjoying getting to know Spain with this book.
    Regards Patricia

  23. Congratulazion says:

    Dear Mr. May,

    I would like to thank you for your very nice and interesting books.
    You have birthday in two days, so I would like to congratulate you wish you all the best!


  24. Peter Nord says:

    Really enjoyed the Enzo files. Especially the parts about the wine from Gaillac. But we have an alcohol monopoly in Sweden and they have not got any wines from Gaillac. But suddenly two wines turned up, Terroir Lagrave 2020 and La Roq 2018. Tested the Lagrave and it was really good, 79sek about 7,50 euros and my thought (and I am no expert) was that it matched several 130-140sek wines. I bought a La Roq as well but have not tested it yet but for 149 sek, about 13 euros it looks promising.

    • Peter, you should try to get hold of wines from Sarrabelle, Château Clement Termes, Château Lastours and some other Gaillac winemakers. They have wines priced at 7-12 euros that might cost 50 or 60 if they were Bordeaux.

  25. Sarah Woodworth says:

    The opening scene with Mackenzie picking up his son from school could not have happened in a modern primary school. Modern schools have password locked doors, usually the front door into reception and then again from the reception into the main part of the school. No one can just walk in, nor would any child be left at the gate unsupervised.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s