A FARMER who has become the biggest selling debut crime author in Britain has been given a new publishing deal for another three books.

James Oswald, who tends Highland cattle and sheep on his farm in Newburgh, Fife, sold 170,000 books featuring his Inspector McLean character last year. He has now been given a second deal with Penguin and is moving from the static caravan where he has been based for into a house on his farm.

He is also planning to extend his herd of cows and sheep. He said: "A few years ago, I wondered if I should keep writing or focus all my energies on the farm but I don't intend giving any of them up. If the writing's not going so well, it's great being able to drive the tractor around and clear the head."

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His latest book, The Hangman's Song, is out today. It is the third in his Inspector McLean series.