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by Macmillan, 25 August 2016. ISBN:978-1-5098-0698-0
Orkney, on the northern island of
Sanday. There’s a murder in the past – then, in the present, reclusive incomer
Mike Jones finds a muslin flower in his loft – representing the soul of a dead
child, the island’s historian, Sam Flett, tells him, adding ‘Put it back!’ But Mike feels strangely
drawn by the flower ...then a skeleton’s found in Mike’s yard... but how could
it be connected to a dead pensioner in Glasgow? If the islanders know, they’re
not telling – but Rona MacLeod and her sidekicks Chrissie and McNab are
determined to find out.
novel brings forensic scientist Rhona Macleod to the most remote island of the
Orkney archipelago, where the wind plays havoc with transport links, the only
mobile phone signal is outside and behind the house, and there’s no point in
putting up a tent, because it would be straight in the Atlantic. Anderson has
captured the feel of somewhere very different, where everyone is related, and
everyone knows everything about everyone else; where bones turning up in the
soil are part of the Neolithic or Norse heritage; where islanders police
themselves, and resent incomer law officers coming in; where the past is still
important enough to kill for. We’re also given a flavour of wartime Orkney – far
from being a safe haven then, the islands were in the front line, with
thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and prisoners of war billeted there.
Rhona MacLeod is a determined, resourceful heroine, even with her lab for test
results several days away, and her profession adds an interesting and
convincing dimension to her detective work – her use of soil, for example, to
trace where people have been. Glaswegian McNab, a natural city-dweller, has no
CCTV to help him find out what people were up to, just a lot of chatty
islanders whose dialect is too strong for him to follow, and a determination
that nobody’s going to attempt to murder him and get away with it. The
different strands of the story – the murder in the past, the Glasgow death, and
a child’s disappearance – are all woven together smoothly, and the supernatural
atmosphere of the muslin flowers is creepily done. This novel is the eleventh
in the Rhona MacLeod series, and so there are a number of references to
previous books, usually in the characters’ relationships with each other,
rather than in plot spoilers. If you wanted to begin at the start, the first
story in the series is a prequel novella, Blood
Red Roses, and the first novel is Driftnet.
fast-moving, atmospheric PP with an extra dimension added to the investigation
by the forensic scientist heroine, and set in an unusual and vividly-evoked
place. A treat for Rhona MacLeod’s many fans, and highly recommended to those
who haven’t met her yet.
in Greenock. She attended the University of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Lin is a Tartan
Noir crime novelist and screenwriter. Whilst best known as the creator of
forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod, Lin has a second mystery thriller series featuring
private investigatorPatrick de
Courvoisier, set in glamorous Cannes (thinkThe Rockford Files meets James Bond). As of 2010 the Rhona MacLeod books are being
developed for ITV.
Marsali Taylor grew up near
Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently
a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and
two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is
fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive
dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a
keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of
her local drama group.Marsali also does
a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.