A TOP lawyer from Port Glasgow has opened a new chapter in his career - by publishing his first ever novel.

Stephen O'Rourke QC has fulfilled a long-time ambition by penning a book and his debut release, murder mystery adventure 'The Crown Agent', has just been released.

It has been seven years in the making for the 43-year-old, who has combined his work as one of the country's leading lawyers with his passion for literature.

The married dad-of-two now lives with his family in Edinburgh for work reasons but he was keen to ensure Inverclyde featured prominently in his debut novel.

Greenock is one of the main locations in the book, which follows the adventures of surgeon turned spy, Dr Mungo Lyon.

Stephen told the Tele: "There's quite a big local connection in it.

"Bits are set in the Mansion House that used to sit in Wellpark and belonged to the Shaw Stewart family.

"Probably about a third of the book is set in Greenock. "It was really good fun writing it."

Despite the legal connotations, 'The Crown Agent' is not a nod to Stephen's profession and in fact references the main character, Dr Lyon, whose reputation has been tarnished by the infamous Burke and Hare murders.

Unable to practice medicine, he is recruited by the Crown as a spy.

The novel has been released by highly-rated Scottish independent publisher, Sandstone Press, which enjoyed success at the prestigious Man Booker literary awards earlier this year, claiming the 'international prize' for one of its publications.

Stephen studied law in Edinburgh and Bologna and is a member of the Scottish and English bar.

The former St John's Primary pupil, who grew up in Lilybank, is also in the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and was a columnist for several publications.

But it took a nudge from his dad James and winning a national newspaper short story competition to give him the confidence to write a book.

Stephen said: "I was gobsmacked. "It's all well and good for family and friends to say you can write but it's really nice for people to think objectively that your work is good."

The novel - the first of possibly three as part of the book deal - has already received rave reviews.

It even caught the attention of Scottish acting star David Rintoul, who is narrating an audio version for Amazon-owned company Audible.

Stephen is donating a third of his royalties to Tumbling Lassie - a charity set up by a group of Scottish lawyers to fight against modern slavery and help victims of human trafficking.

*'The Crown Agent' is now on sale in most book shops and online.