Still life

Val McDermid

Book - 2020

"The UK's "Queen of Crime" Val McDermid returns to her propulsive series featuring cold case detective Karen Pirie, who finds herself investigating the shadowy world of forgery, where things are never what they seem. Still Life is intensely gripping from the first page and further proof that McDermid is writing at the top of her game. When a lobster fisherman on an early morning run pulls in his traps, he finds something he wasn't expecting to catch-a body. Turns out the dead man was the brother of a senior Scottish government official who vanished without a trace, and Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is asked to take over the investigation. At the same time, a woman in the wealthy enclave of Perth is clearing ...out her sister's home after a fatal road accident and finds a mysterious camper van in the garage containing a skeletonized body. But who is it? And how long has it been there? The two cases will draw Karen into the world of imposters, identity theft, and art forgery"--

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Mystery fiction
Suspense fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press 2020.
Main Author
Val McDermid (author)
First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition
Item Description
"First published in Great Britain in 2020 by Little, Brown"--Title page verso.
Physical Description
436 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Detective Inspector Karen Pirie, head of the cold-case squad in Fife, Scotland, returns for a sixth time (after Broken Ground, 2018) to juggle two cases, both made extremely complex by confounding sets of false identities that emerge after a lobster fisherman pulls a dead body from the Firth of Forth, and the death of a woman in a motorcycle accident leads to the discovery of a skeleton in an old VW van in her garage. The investigations unfold as she deals with the "bubble of rage" inside her head that's just about to burst when the man responsible for the gruesome death of the great love of her life is released from prison. Pirie prevails despite the usual administrative interference, an assault on a team member, and the experience of a brief visit to Paris that finds Madame Commandant Pirie's "monoglot self" surprisingly uneasy and in an unusual contrast to her usual self-confident demeanor. In an email to her current lover, Hamish, she describes herself as "gallus" (daring, cheeky) and "thrawn" (obstinate, intractable), two Lowland Scottish terms that fans will be delighted to bandy about. In her acknowledgements, McDermid notes her experience of writing in the "strange half-world of lockdown," finding sustained concentration difficult, but she has nonetheless managed to keep her detective right on target and the reader enthralled.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In Edgar finalist McDermid's cunningly crafted fifth novel featuring Det. Chief Insp. Karen Pirie (after 2018's Broken Ground), the Historic Cases Unit head is working to identify skeletal remains found in a Perth garage when Asst. Chief Constable Ann Markie of Police Scotland intervenes. After a decade on the lam, James Auld--a suspect in the disappearance of his older brother, senior civil servant Iain Auld--was fished from the Firth of Forth with his skull bashed in. Pirie is familiar with the elder Auld's cold case, and the local cops are too inexperienced to run a high-profile homicide investigation, so Markie orders Pirie to reopen the former and commandeer the latter. Pirie grudgingly complies after delegating the skeleton to her protégé, Det. Constable Jason Murray, who promises frequent updates. Meanwhile, Pirie struggles to set relationship boundaries with her new boyfriend, Hamish Mackenzie. McDermid expertly balances the book's multiple mysteries, giving none short shrift. Vividly sketched characters, a colorful narrative, and myriad twists keep the pages turning, despite a somewhat leisurely pace. McDermid continues her reign as queen of the police procedural. Agent: Jane Gregory, David Higham Assoc. (U.K.). (Oct.)

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