Graduate to go from writing crime to fighting it
Published on 16 November 2022
A crime writing graduate has devised her own real-life plot twist after receiving her degree from the University of Dundee
Sophie Carney has spent the last two years immersed in writing crime fiction as part of her studies in the Crime Writing and Forensic Investigation MLitt course, coming up with the perfect crime mysteries and the protagonists who go on to solve them. Now she’s turning fiction to fact, gearing up to become a police detective herself.
Sophie (25) is one of around 2500 students graduating from the University of Dundee this week, the majority of whom are attending ceremonies in the Caird Hall.
As part of the course, Sophie studied with expert forensic scientists at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID), learning about the role of forensic science in legal investigations. That experience, paired with gained understanding about the police and the law, set her up to write knowledgeable and creative crime pieces.
She found herself fascinated by the effort that goes into investigating a crime and the role of the people who work to solve them. During a masterclass talk given by a police detective, Sophie found out about the National Detective Programme, a fast-track route to becoming a detective in the UK.
“I never knew that was an option,” said Sophie. “The traditional route of becoming a detective is starting off as a police constable and working your way up. That never would have suited me. I am more interested in the process of solving a crime and behind-the-scenes work to put together the puzzle. This programme allows you to train to become a detective within two years.
“True crime and the theories and methods that go into solving a case has always been an interest of mine, but I never thought I would be going down this path. I would never have heard about this opportunity if it wasn’t for doing this course and interacting with people who have similar interests.
“There are so many transferable skills that this course has given me. I was able to talk to a lot of people in different specialties and I had to do a lot of research to make sure everything was forensically accurate, and that’s going to be very useful as I go down this new route.”
Sophie, who is from Sussex, is undergoing final tests for the programme before starting in January. Although she is swapping her pen for a baton just now, she said she may draw on her own experiences for future work.
“It will be great material if and when I decide to write something,” she said. “There are lots of writers out there who are police officers, or ex-police. It will be a fascinating experience and I’m really excited to start this new adventure.”
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