BARRHEAD author Chris Brookmyre has been toasting success after winning the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

Chris earned the prestigious prize for his book Black Widow, which features one of his most popular characters - investigative journalist Jack Parlabane.

And it was a case of fourth time lucky for the talented writer, having been pipped at the post in previous bids to win the award.

“I’m really quite taken aback,” said Chris. “I’ve been shortlisted three times for this award - always the bridesmaid. Today, I get to walk up the aisle.”

The Barrhead man saw off competition from top crime writers such as Val McDermid, Eva Dolan, Sabine Durrant, Mick Herron and Susie Steiner to win the 2017 award.

However, humble Chris was quick to pay tribute to those who played their part in making Black Widow a success.

He said: “A book is not just the work of the author behind it. I’d like to thank my editor, Ed Wood, for his calibre and daring that made a good book greater.”

Black Widow, which also won the McIlvanney Prize at the Bloody Scotland crime writing festival last year, focuses on the thorny subject of online abuse.

Parlabane investigates the death of a newly-married man whose sister suspects foul play.

Winning the award earned Chris a cash prize of £3,000 and a hand-engraved oak cask of Theakston’s Old Peculier.

These were handed over by beer supremo Simon Theakston during the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which took place in Harrogate at the weekend.

Festival organisers have congratulated Chris on his success.

A spokesperson said: “Brookmyre’s book was chosen from a strong shortlist.”

A former pupil of St Mark’s Primary and St Luke’s High, Chris is one of Scotland’s most successful authors.

Parlabane has featured in a number of his novels, including Quite Ugly One Morning, Country of the Blind, Boiling a Frog, Be My Enemy, Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks and Dead Girl Walking.