The author – whose 21 books have sold millions of copies worldwide – said bad news was killing them off.
The rise of Donald Trump, terrorist attacks and mass shootings have left people yearning for “kind and gentle” books, he claimed.
The writer is on a global tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his famous fictional detective John Rebus.
But he said the bleakness of events worldwide was changing readers’ habits.
The 57-year-old author said: “Right now, the world seems so crazy and irrational that many novelists have difficulty trying to shape it into a coherent narrative.
This New Year’s Day marks the beginning of the Year of Young People 2018 and today, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay launches a new competition aimed at aspiring young writers aged 8 to 18, based in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and Falkirk. Their remit is to create their own short story inspired by Edinburgh, the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature.
Three stories will be selected to appear alongside a new work by celebrated Scottish writer, Val McDermid in Message from the Skies that will be launched on New Year’s Day 2018 and run until Burns Night on 25 January.
Inspired by a line from Robert Burns’ poem Sketch New Year’s Day. To Mrs Dunlop (1790) , Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Book Festival have commissioned McDermid to write a short story entitled New Year’s Resurrection, that will be told in a series of chapters through projections onto buildings and landmarks around Edinburgh.
Bringing the story to life will involve collaboration between McDermid, Philip Howard, director and dramaturg of emergent theatre company Pearlfisher; Edinburgh based architectural projection mapping specialists Double Take Projections and three of Scotland’s finest composers and sound designers, Michael John McCarthy, Pippa Murphy and RJ McConnell.
Sheriffs from across Tayside, Central Scotland and Fife attended a shrieval conference held at Dundee University’s Department of Anatomy on Friday to hear top speakers.
In addition to dealing with sheriffdom business, the conference heard fascinating talks by Professor Sue Black on forensic anthropology and best-selling crime author Val McDermid who reflected on the ‘price’ that all involved in the justice system pay — from victims, accused, police officers, various experts and judges drawing on her novels and journalistic experience.
Professor Black also provided a tour of her world class forensic labs and Sheriff Alastair Brown addressed the issue of ‘First Diets – Are we meeting expectations?’
Conference organiser Sheriff James Williamson said: “We received very encouraging feedback on the conference. Speakers of a very high calibre delivered fascinating and informative insights. I would like to thank Professor Sue Black and Sheriff Lindsay Foulis for their assistance in organising the event and all of the speakers for their excellent contributions.”