About Clive Allan…

Who is Clive Allan?


The author and his dog, Geordie, at the summit of Creag Ruadh in Strathconon.

I have always loved writing, even as a small boy, often composing short stories for my own amusement during the school holidays. Then as a teenager, I was lucky enough to be taught by a larger than life English teacher who did much to inspire me in terms of creative writing. I went on to study English literature at college, and having examined in detail the works of some of our literary greats, I often dreamed of becoming a novelist. But the realities of life kicked in, and having first considered a military career, I eventually ended up in the police service. For thirty years, any desire to write was well and truly curbed.

My literary efforts during this time were almost exclusively restricted to crime reports and witness statements…which, ironically, I often enjoyed writing…although I must stress they were never fiction!! I have never regretted my time in the police service. My career was hugely rewarding and I worked with some wonderful people. But all good things come to an end! As retirement finally loomed, I promised myself that I would one day write that elusive novel, and encouraged by my long suffering wife, I set out to do so.

Like many writers, I naturally sought to exploit areas of knowledge in which I had a strong grounding. Naturally, policing was one of them, having worked in a number of specialist roles and ranks during a very varied and eventful career.

Being a male child of the sixties, I was also brought up on the many dramatic tales from World War Two, still circulating strongly twenty years after the last shots had been fired. Not surprisingly then, my long held fascination with all things historical, developed into a profound interest in every aspect of military history, a subject that still captivates me today.

Although I am most definitely a Sassenach, I have always had a love of Scotland. I suppose it is the wildness of the place, and the rugged beauty of Britain’s last great wilderness. Then, having married into a Scottish family, my connection with the land “north of the border” became well and truly cemented. In 2004, we bought a second home in the northern Highlands, and since then, we have enjoyed many happy years exploring every nook and cranny of this wonderful region.

So having drawn upon thirty years police experience, my interest in military history and a profound knowledge of the Scottish Highlands, I created Detective Inspector Neil Strachan. He is not the usual dysfunctional urban detective, often portrayed in the crime novels we read, but an academic, a graduate historian struggling to build a reputation in the gritty world of modern day policing. He is based on the real detectives I have had the pleasure of working with, mostly unassuming characters, committed to their job, but also to their families and a life outside of the police service.

Strachan’s adventures are played out in a setting rarely focused upon in detective novels. Both The Drumbeater and The Well of the Dead are a blend of the past and the present. Both stories, although very different, develop along their own distinctive lines, which finally coalesce to produce, what I hope readers will agree, is an impactive climax. I very much hope you enjoy them!