Cross Purpose - Claire MacLeary - Book Cover
Detective, Mystery & Thriller

Cross Purpose – Claire MacLeary

When Maggie’s husband dies after being forced out of the Police, she is set upon clearing his name.
Neighbour Wilma is determined to help. A unique detective duo is born!  



Move over Thelma and Louise, Aberdonian Maggie and Wilma have taken the floor! The neighbours could not have been more different: Maggie is shy and dependent, Wilma has seen it all and is nobody’s fool. They never interacted before, Wilma felt she did not fit in the neighbourhood and Maggie could not be bothered with her common, sometimes even vulgar, neighbour. But when Wilma’s husband dies some time after being forced out of the police force, only one person cares about Maggie: Wilma. Overnight they become Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and her not-to-be-messed-with sidekick, Lula, continuing Wilma’s late husband’s Detective Agency.


Maggie is devastated when her husband George drops dead. She feels left alone, with their daughter at University and their son “at thon glaikit stage, nae use to man nor beast,” according to next-door neighbour Wilma. The latter has known rough times before settling down with her new husband next door to Maggie. Even though Wilma lives in a ‘posh’ neighbourhood, by no means she feels she belongs. However, all her instincts tell her to reach out to her bereaved neighbour. There is more to Maggie’s loss: she feels guilty for having dissuaded her husband from facing the disciplinary hearing. When the bills keep adding up and the Police Pension does not pay out, Wilma has the brilliant (insane in Maggie’s eyes) idea that Maggie should continue her late husband’s ‘wee’ Detective Agency. Why Maggie agrees she could not say: perhaps for a chance to clear George’s name.

Meanwhile, Fatboy enrols a young boy, Willy, as a drug courier. It is the start of a strange sort of friendship. Willie provides Fatboy with the perfect address from which to conduct his business, the seventh floor flat where his little brother Kyle is with babysitter Kym. No one will suspect children, for the runners are no more than that, going in and out an apartment building every day. Whilst Kym is only too happy to drink away her sorrow and leave the children with Fatboy, the latter feels the children start to grow on him. Simultaneously, the unlikely pair Maggie and Wilma, the elegant but skinny size 8 and the dubiously styled voluptuous size 16 (at least), try their hand with their first investigation. With a young woman found dead in the graveyard, a new Detective Inspector to deal with, a former colleague of George’s with a crush on Maggie, children as drugs runners, and a connection with Aberdeen’s dark underworld things are getting steadily getting out of hand…

My Thoughts

Cross Purpose is an entertaining and engrossing thriller featuring Aberdonian’s own Thelma and Louise: Maggie and Wilma. I love this unique combination and the way the author’s main characters set aside their prejudices and slowly start trusting each other and working together. You have got to love the flamboyant Wilma whose feelings of empathy initiate a series of events turning not only her own life upside down. Both Maggie and Wilma are rounded characters and the author has lovingly created two wonderful women! What makes this thriller so special is that it has an intricate plotline with well-created characters woven into a dark and yet uplifting story, written with a touch of humour. The Scottish phrases are plain to see (not so easy to pronounce!) and show us Aberdonian street speech, even if I had difficulty at times to understand every single word, the outline of what was being said was perfectly clear. An impressive debut thriller and, dare I say, a great start to a new series featuring Maggie and Wilma, Aberdeen’s unique detective duo!

Only after writing this review, I read the author’s info – and am thrilled to say that indeed, Cross Purpose will have a sequel: Burnout.

About the Author

Claire MacLeary Author Image

Following a career in business, Claire MacLeary gained an MLitt with Distinction from the University of Dundee. Her short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies. She lived for some years in Aberdeen, and subsequently in Fife, before returning to her native Glasgow. Cross Purpose is the author’s first book, to be followed by a sequel Burnout.

Book Info


 Paperback  360 pages
 Publisher  Contraband/Saraband (23 Feb. 2017)
 ISBN  978-1910192641
 eBook  1822 KB (23 Feb. 2017)

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