Booked for Murder

Reviewed by Andy Smart

"Catriona looked as though she'd bitten into a profiterole and found a slug"

OK, so how much more of a recommendation do you need to read this book? You want more? OK so how about great characters, a tight plot that fairly nips along, lots of superb dialogue and a less-than-obvious denouement that keeps you guessing who did it?

As you may have guessed I reckon this is a superb book by a very talented writer indeed. Lindsey Gordon returns to London to investigate the murder of her friend Penny Varnavides, for which Penny's ex-partner Meredith is the chief suspect. In the course of her investigations she becomes embroiled in the business affairs of one of her other friends which she also goes on to solve. Needless to say her partner Sophie is on had to both help and lend moral (if exasperated) support.

There is an excellent supporting cast, from the bereaved suspect Meredith, who makes you want to cry in sympathy to the ebullient (you don't get to use that word often but in this case it's accurate) Helen. I really think this is one of the book's great strengths, the way that every character is thought about and planned in detail. Even the victim, Penny, seems so full of life that you forget she's the deceased. I rather suspect that when Penny is described as being interested in people and spending hours in shopping malls watching them, McDermid is actually describing her own way of working. McDermid's years as a journalist probably helps too.

" I despise blackmail" said Catriona, lighting a second cigarette

"Me too" Lindsey said cheerfully "It doesn't half get results though"

Go on, buy it and give yourself a major reading treat.

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