HER professional and personal experiences do pop up in her books, but GP-turned-crime-writer Anne Pettigrew admits she could never write an autobiography.

“It would not be fair on patients and colleagues,” she says, firmly. “I wanted to write about being a female doctor, because they just do not exist in literature – apart from in a pioneering Dr Quinn Medicine Woman kind of way, or the odd pathologist.

“But it always had to be fictionalised.”

Born in Glasgow, Anne worked as a GP in Greenock for 31 years. She started writing in her retirement.

Her first novel, Not the Life Imagined, followed a young medical student in the 60s, battling against discrimination and sexual exploitation. It was runner-up in the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Silver Stag Award 2018. Its sequel, Not the Deaths Imagined, is out on August 1.

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“I liked writing – I was a regular contributor to newspaper letter pages,” she says, smiling.

“I wrote to The Herald, incensed at Maggie Thatcher’s bonkers NHS plans, and they called me up because they liked it so much and asked if I would consider a regular column.

“But it is one thing to write a 400-word polemic on something which annoys you and quite another to write a novel, so I did Glasgow University’s Creative Writing course to learn how to do it properly. Not the Life Imagined didn’t start as a crime novel, it became one almost despite me….”

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Anne’s second book, from Glasgow independent Ringwood Publishing, follows Dr Beth Semple as faces up to life as a mother, and unable to convince the authorities there is something suspicious about a series of deaths in the area. It tackles big themes – sexism, feminism, the difficulties of whistleblowing in the NHS and the struggles women face to make themselves heard.

“The job is different now, but sexism still exists,” says Anne. “Someone I went to a reference did actually say to me – ‘I suppose you are a girl who could be given a chance…’”

She adds: “And I said nothing. Because you didn’t.”

Anne, who lives in Skelmorlie, started her career in hospitals, but left when she started her family.

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“There were no part-time working opportunities back then,” she says. “Also, I never much enjoyed seeing a person in a bed for three days, and never knowing what happened to them after they left. I liked the continuity of being a GP.”

Anne’s third book is set in Oxford, where she studied for a Masters in medical anthropology when her son went to study there.

“I was 52 at the time - it was a mad decision,” she says, cheerfully.

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The success of her first novel, described as ‘medical tartan noir’ , took Anne by surprise, she admits.

“I thought I might sell to friends and family,” she says. “I got the chance to speak at Bloody Scotland in Stirling alongside fantastic people like Angela Gallop, which was an amazing experience.”

She adds, with a laugh: “It was very unexpected to be described as ‘one to watch’ at 69….”

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Not The Deaths Imagined is out on Saturday (August 1).