In my opinion, Val McDermid is one of the very best authors of mystery/police procedurals/suspense who is writing today. Her stand alone novel, A Place of Execution is extraordinary. She has another great one in The Vanishing Point. Then, of course, there are Ms. McDermid’s many series. The oldest are the Lindsay Gordon and Kate Brannigans and then there are the Tony Hill and Carol Jordans. However, my favorite series is the one featuring Karen Pirie.
Karen Pirie is a DCI who is in charge of historical cases that generally have a connection in the present. She is based in Scotland although in this book she travels afield, including a trip to Paris. Each novel in the series has several story lines that come together. There is a lot going on in this one.
The books are perhaps read in order although that is not strictly necessary. That said, long term readers will feel for Karen as the killer of her significant other Phil is released from prison. How will this change both her life and that of the killer? Followers of the series will also enjoy being updated on Karen’s relationship with Hamish and the work of her sidekick Jason.
There are several plots. There is the presumed murder of a Scottish political figure in the past and the fate of his brother in the present. There is a body found in a camper vab that may belong to the artist girlfriend of a road accident victim. There are clues like OUDS, 12N, art works, the fate of a conceptual artist and more.
In less talented hands, plates could get dropped but Ms. McDermid is in fine command of her craft. My only criticism is that now I will have to wait at least a year to spend time with Karen again.
I highly recommend this one!