Denise Mina was born into a Catholic family in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1966. Her father, a self-educated oil engineer, traveled frequently, and the family moved twenty-one times while Mina was young. She attended convent schools across Europe. Mina left school at sixteen and took a series of jobs in London as a waitress, bartender, cook, and meat-factory worker, then as a nurse in a home for the elderly and terminally ill. Caring for people who had lived through World War II, Mina developed an appreciation for their life stories; she was particularly moved by elderly women who had once been independent, holding responsible positions in the workforce.
In 1986 Mina returned to Glasgow. At twenty-one she passed examinations allowing her to enroll in Glasgow University’s School of Law. After graduating she taught classes in criminology and criminal law. At the University of Strathclyde she began research for a doctoral degree on why women offenders were often considered mentally ill but spent more time working on her first novel, Garnethill (1998), about a former mental patient who becomes a suspect in a murder.
Published when Mina was thirty-one, Garnethill won the John Creasey Gold Dagger Award from the Crime Writers’ Association, was translated into fifteen languages, and was adapted by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Scotland for television. Two subsequent novels in what became known as the Garnethill trilogy,...
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