An absorbing thriller about four young men who discover the body of a young barmaid in the snow banks of a Scottish cemetery. The unsolved crime resurfaces twenty-five years later. One of McDermid's
better books--almost as good as A Place of Execution.
This was not as good as A Place of Execution, but that's one of the best mystery novels I have ever read, so I'm not complaining! McDermid is great at creating memorable, flawed, surprising characters.
Val McDermid is one of the best mystery/thriller writers in the business. This one is no exception to all of her others. It's a suspense building, pschycological thriller of a book. The ending takes you by surprise even though you may think you've got it figured out beforehand. Once you've read a McDermid book, you're hooked. Just as I was.
In 1978, four young university students are suspects in the murder of nineteen year old Rosie Duff. With no real evidence against them or anyone else, suspicion would follow them and change their lives forever. Twenty-five years later, the case would be re-opened as a cold case. This time, however, they would begin dying under suspicious circumstances. Clearly someone has decided them guilty of Rosie's murder and is exacting retribution.
I thought this book was very well written and easy to read. It held my interest until the very ending which was quite a surprise and very exciting. I loved all the characters and thought they were well-drawn and the plot was very unique. It wasn't too hard to guess the killer but I think the real purpose of Val McDermid writing the book was to show "the poisonous nature of suspicion and guilt and the reverberation of damage through the lives of people touched by murder."
I don't think you can really consider this book as book 1 of the Karen Pirie series as it was written 5 years before the 2nd book and was probably intended to be a standalone. Karen Pirie was not in the book until the middle and the ending. The series therefore seems to me as an afterthought. I will, however, be reading the rest of the Karen Pirie series and I highly recommend this book to those who like mysteries with surprise endings.