Val McDermid on anger, ageing – and an unlikely "cure" for menopause

Dubbed the Queen of Crime, Val McDermid has written 35 books (she thinks, but she’s stopped counting), sold over 17million copies and been translated into 40 languages. At the vanguard of female crimewriters, she’s created countless female sleuths but is probably best known for one of her male ones - Dr Tony Hill of the TV series Wire In The Blood. She also created Traces the BBC series aired earlier this year starring Martin (Line of Duty) Compston.

Now 65, she’s gone back to her youth. In her new book, 1979, Val explores what it was like to be a young female journalist in the male dominated tabloid newsrooms of the late 70s. And she should know because she was that hack.

But Val started out over 60 years ago as a working class kid in Fife where, at 16, she became the first ever state school educated pupil from Scotland to go to St Hilda’s College Oxford. Val lives not far from me in Edinburgh, so she popped round to hang out with Sausage the cat and chat being a young lesbian in a hetrosexual white man’s world, anger, ageing and discovering an unexpected ‘cure’ for hot flushes.

• You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at, including 1979 by Val McDermid, and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!

The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

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