For reasons unknown I hadn’t read 1979 by Val McDermid when its sequel, 1989 arrived. I think perhaps I was a bit put-off by any mention of the IRA or money laundering and the like, as political and/or white collar crimes don’t really interest me much. (And no… I’m not sure why.)
It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of Agatha Christie – in particular all-things-Miss Marple who is my favourite Christie crime-solver (followed by Poirot and very distantly by the Beresfords). I’ve written before also about my favourite Miss Marple actress who (despite my usual lack of visual-ness) I ‘picture’ when I think of Miss Marple.
Anyhoo, like everything it seems… everything old is new again and several well-known authors have contributed to an anthology featuring my very favourite female detective.
It’s great to see DCI Karen Pirie and her cold case underling DC Jason Murray back again in Still Life, the sixth in the series by Val McDermid.
Here Pirie’s Historic Case Unit team (of two) is paired with an inexperienced crime squad in Fife when a new murder has ties to a past crime.
I particularly enjoyed the introduction of DS Daisy Mortimer from the crime squad. She’s keen to learn and I appreciated the honest ‘we’re-in-over-our-heads-and-happy-for-help’ approach with which McDermid portrays her and her boss Charlie. Rather than any petty rivalry cos that bastard-ry and competitiveness between cops can get a bit old.
I try hard not to write reviews with spoilers. Or ones that give away too much of the plot. Of course it also means I sometimes re-read a review of a book before starting the next book of the series and – unless it’s ingrained into my mind for some reason – I rarely remember the detail.
So, given two years has passed since Val McDermid’s last Tony Hill / Carol Jordan novel Insidious Intent was published (and I can’t believe it’s that long!), I’d completely forgotten Tony had gone to jail. I can’t remember any of the specifics, but that’s kind-of a good thing as newcomers to the series won’t be lost, suddenly introduced to characters – many of whom have been around now for 11 novels (and 24 years).
I have to say I don’t really mind whether Val McDermid offers we readers a standalone book or something featuring Tony Hill / Carol Jordan or DCI Karen Pirie. They’re always enjoyable and those centred around the latter are (of course) always a little different because Pirie heads up a cold case team (the Historic Case Unit).
My reunion with psychologist Tony Hill and detective Carol Jordan in Val McDermid’s 2015 book, Splinter the Silence was a happy one. It felt like it’d been a while since we’d caught up and I wasn’t sure if there’d been a lull or I’d been a little confused (put-off) by changes in the TV show based on the books, Wire in the Blood.
Anyhoo, I rejoined Tony and Carol two years ago, when a no-longer-working Carol became embroiled in a drink driving conviction and was manipulated into returning to work as a result. Strings were pulled to get the charges dismissed and that action (not Carol’s doing) comes back to bite her and her colleagues on the butt this time around.
I’m a fan of Val McDermid and was delighted last year with the return of her Tony Hill / Carol Jordan series via the impressive Splinter the Silence.
Her latest, Out of Bounds, features Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie who I vaguely remembered from previous novels. I was slightly concerned that – as I wasn’t a devotee – I might struggle to work out who was who or suffer from backstory ignorance. But it wasn’t the case and I really loved this book.
It’d been a while between Tony Hill / Carol Jordan drinks for me on the book front when Val McDermid’s 9th novel in the series arrived in my letterbox.
I’m a huge fan of the series and was a lover of the TV show based on the series (though vaguely recall losing interest for some reason which now alludes me. Was there a change of characters? Or perhaps it just finished?). Anyhoo… I excitedly tuned in for the latest instalment and was (again) forced to change dinner plans so I could read the book in a night!