Skip to main content

May, Peter 1951-

May, Peter 1951-

PERSONAL:

Born 1951, in Glasgow, Scotland; married Janice Hally; children: Carol. Education: National Council for the Training of Journalists, graduate.

ADDRESSES:

Home—France.

CAREER:

Novelist and freelance writer. Paisley Daily Express, news and features reporter, 1971-74; Scotsman, Glasgow, Scotland, reporter, 1974-78; Glasgow Evening Times, Glasgow, news background writer, 1978-79.

MEMBER:

Chinese Crime Writers' Association (honorary member of Beijing chapter).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Named Scottish Young Journalist of the Year, 1973; International Celtic Film and Television Festival prize for best drama serial, 1996, for Machair; Elle Grand Prix for best crime novel, 2006, for The Firemaker.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

The Reporter, Corgi (London, England), 1978.

Hidden Faces, Piatkus (London, England), 1981.

The Noble Path, Piatkus (London, England), 1992.

The Killing Room, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2000.

Snakehead, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2002.

The Runner, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2003.

Chinese Whispers, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2004.

The Firemaker, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2005.

Extraordinary People, Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2006.

The Fourth Sacrifice, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2007.

TELEVISION SCRIPTS

The Standard (drama series), British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC), 1978.

Take the High Road (drama series), Scottish Television, 1980-1992.

Squadron (drama series), BBC, 1982.

The Ardlamont Mystery (single play dramatization), BBC, 1985.

Machair (drama series), Scottish Television, 1992-1993.

Television producer and writer for the BBC and Independent Television (ITV). Author of the blog Peter May Live.

SIDELIGHTS:

Peter May began writing as a teenager and, intending to find some way to make a living at his hobby, enrolled in a year-long journalism course. Within two years at his first newspaper job, he was named Scottish Young Journalist of the Year and went on to write for both local and national papers. By the early 1980s, May had branched off career-wise into the television industry, producing and writing dramatic series for several British broadcasting networks. May's first novel was published when he was still in his twenties, and over the next thirty years he earned distinction as a crime writer, both in his native Britain and abroad. In an interview with Shots magazine contributor Ayo Onatade, May described the draw of writing crime fiction: "Crime is a great way of examining the human condition because it is looking for flaws under stress effectively and crime is always stressful, both for the perpetrator and the victim. So a crime story of any kind is putting the human condition under a microscope in a very stressful situation and that's great, because that's where we get under people's skins and into people's heads and the stories."

May's early books—The Reporter, Hidden Faces, and The Noble Path—are thrillers with an international flavor, set in such varied locales as Brussels and Cambodia. The Firemaker marked the first novel in a series of thrillers set in China. The series features an American forensic pathologist stationed in Beijing who teams up with a local detective to solve crimes. Booklist reviewer David Pitt commented: "It's a pleasure to be introduced to these two investigators." The Firemaker is a "tale that satisfies as a mystery, a romantic adventure and a fascinating look at the new China," remarked a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Another novel in the series, The Fourth Sacrifice, was described by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as a "well-plotted follow-up" that "amplifies his [May's] vivid picture of a chaotic, vital modern-day China." May was selected by the Beijing chapter of the Chinese Crime Writers' Association to become an honorary member, the first Westerner to achieve the designation.

In 2006 May debuted another series with the character of Enzo Macleod, a Scottish forensic biologist living in France who gets drawn into solving a high-profile murder case gone cold. Describing Extraordinary People, a contributor to Kirkus Reviews maintained that May "provides abundant local color and writes with measured authority. The results are as engaging as they are cerebral." The novel "makes for a fun puzzle," wrote a reviewer for Publishers Weekly.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2005, David Pitt, review of The Firemaker, p. 70.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2005, review of The Firemaker, p. 768; September 15, 2006, review of Extraordinary People, p. 931.

Publishers Weekly, September 4, 2006, review of Extraordinary People, p. 42; December 11, 2006, review of The Fourth Sacrifice, p. 48.

ONLINE

Peter May Home Page,http://www.petermay.co.uk (March 27, 2007).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"May, Peter 1951-." Contemporary Authors. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"May, Peter 1951-." Contemporary Authors. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 14, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/may-peter-1951

"May, Peter 1951-." Contemporary Authors. . Retrieved November 14, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/may-peter-1951

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.