STIRLING crime writer RJ Mitchell has set a new record for WHSmith north of the border with his 'The Shadow of Fear' Scottish signing tour.

Mitchell's marathon tour, which started with the launch of his fifth crime thriller at the Stirling WHSmith on June 7, broke through the 1200 sale mark after a December signing in Glasgow.

At one of the last signings in his home city of Stirling on December 22, Mitchell admitted he was delighted with the success of his signing odyssey: "It's amazing to think I set out over six months back on the tour and if someone had told me then I would have set a new record of 1388 sales for a WHSmith tour in Scotland this decade I think I would have probably laughed”.

"I'd just like to thank everyone who has bought a copy of my book in Scotland since June and wish all my readers a happy New Year.

"The reaction to 'The Shadow of Fear' has been overwhelmingly positive and it has been great to take it to places I had never done signings before such as Inverness, Dundee and Helensburgh, and see how positive people still are about the written word and crime fiction in particular."

The Shadow of Fear, published by Nine Elms Books, is the first in a new series revolving around disgraced soldier Ludovic Fear, who finds himself in HMP Barlinnie for a crime he didn't commit and his hopes of redemption dwindling when he becomes ensnared by a notorious crime lord called The Cyclops.

With the action raging from Sheriffmuir in Stirlingshire to Aberdeenshire's Dunottar Castle and over to Malaga in Spain, readers are promised a page-turning read full of betrayal, revenge and heartbreak.

David Hunter, WHSmith Scotland director, said: "We are delighted to be supporting local Scottish writing talent and the success of this tour just shows that the Scottish public very much still enjoys a good read in its traditional form."