Tuesday, January 4, 2011


First line: "Lindsay Gordon put murder to the back of her mind and settled down in the train compartment to enjoy the broken greys and greens of the Derbyshire scenery."

In Val McDermid’s first book of her Lindsay Gordon series, the journalist is covering a fundraising event at a private girl’s school. The fundraiser features two alumni who have become successful through their arts: Cordelia Brown as a novelist and Lorna Smith-Couper as a cellist. When Lorna Smith-Couper is found dead just before her performance, the suspects begin piling up. From students to teachers to parents, seems everyone has a motive to kill the musician.

McDermid creates a wonderful puzzle mystery in REPORT FOR MURDER. She winds the plot around so that all the suspects seem plausible. She’s chosen a setting that allows her to pull in themes of class, politics and ambition. But they are subtly integrated and underlie the main story line.

Her characters are well developed and real. Characters who are smart but still do dumb things. Characters who are shaped by the nature of their environments. Characters who make bad choices with good intentions, regardless of their ages or educations.

REPORT FOR MURDER is a lighter novel from McDermid’s bibliography. Readers who favor the traditional mystery will appreciate the complexity with less of the graphic elements. All readers will appreciate the careful balance of plot and character combined with McDermid’s wit. A very enjoyable read.

REPORT FOR MURDER was originally published in the U.S. by St. Martin's Press in 1990. It is presently available in paperback from Bywater Books (ISBN: 978-1932859065)


Kay January 4, 2011 at 10:32 AM  

Jen, I didn't know that Val McDermid wrote anything "light". LOL

I have loved her Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, but it is definitely graphic in a lot of ways. I have to be in the mood for one of those. Thanks for sharing about this one.

Dorte H January 4, 2011 at 3:19 PM  

I have tried several of hers so I knew she also wrote lighter stuff (e.g. the Kate Brannigan series), but my favourites so far have been her standalones, A Darker Domain and A Place of Execution. She is a fantastic writer, but the Jordan/Hill series is a bit too much for me.

kathy d. January 4, 2011 at 10:01 PM  

I read one of her Lindsay Jordan books years ago, and I liked it. Will try another one.

I plan to read "A Darker Domain," and I think, "A Grave Tattoo." Will stay away from the Jordan/Hill series as it's too violent.

"A Place of Execution" was excellent, but I saw it on PBS, the BBC drama, and so--no surprises.

Jen Forbus January 5, 2011 at 5:58 PM  

I've now read in the Lindsay Gordan series and the Kate Brannigan series. I still have to try my first Tony Hill/Carol Jordan.

I have A GRAVE TATTOO and PLACE OF EXECUTION in my TBR pile, so hopefully you'll hear my take on those two in the near future!

Fun stuff and very cool that Val can write such different material.

  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP