CARO Ramsay started writing books during a long spell in hospital after she fractured her spine.

But the seed of her career as a crime writer may have been sown many years before.

“I remember writing a story in primary school about the teddy bear’s picnic,” recalls the Glasgow writer, whose latest novel, The Sideman, is out now.

“In my version, the bears turned on the children and ate them.”

She adds, cheerfully: “I must have been about seven years old.”

Caro, who had always had back problems, ended up in hospital after a freak accident.

“I tripped up the stairs and fractured my spine,” she says, simply. “I don’t remember much about it – I think I have blotted it out of my mind, the way women do with the pain of childbirth.

“I do remember having to give directions when the ambulance got lost on the way to hospital, and eating egg mayo sandwiches for what seemed like months.”

In hospital, Caro started to write.

“I’d been there so long I was either going to murder someone or write about it,” she jokes.

“I have always had a suspicious mind, so crime writing came naturally. The idea for The Sideman came as I was sitting halfway up a Scottish mountain tucked in behind a large rock, sheltering from the wind and the rain (it was the height of the Scottish summer).”

She adds: “I was watching walkers on the West Highland Way, which is always busy, but there are long remote stretches with lone hikers, with no mobile phone signal. That’s where the story was born.

“I think I just have an evil mind. People say crime writers do have a chip of ice in their hearts - people will be telling you these awful stories of terrible things they have gone through and you’re thinking - I could use that...”

The story Caro wrote in hospital became the first and second books in the now 11-strong Anderson and Costello series. The Sideman catches up with the duo as they investigate the murder of a mother and her young son. When Costello goes solo, her partner becomes increasingly concerned.

“I was interested to see how far my characters would go,” she says. “Two main characters, on opposite sides of the line, but you want them both to succeed...

“Is it the end of a beautiful partnership - goodness, no. My readers would never forgive me.”

Caro was born in Govan and planned to be a vet.

“At my interview for vet school, I was told with my history of back issues, I would never be able to pull a calf out of a cow,” she says. “They suggested – why not be an osteopath instead? Then you can still treat animals too.”

Caro was one of the youngest graduates of the British School of Osteopathy in London. She returned to Glasgow to set up her own practice, which she still runs today as a multidisciplinary clinic.

“People ask me why I continue to do both jobs, because there is no crossover between them,” she says. “But there is - both are endlessly fascinating.”

The Sideman, published by Black Thorn Books, is out now.