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Saturday, 29 March 2014

‘Bad Blood’ by Aline Templeton

Published by Alison & Busby,
28 October 2013.
ISBN: 978-0-7490-1355-4

Marnie Bruce has hyperthymesia: she can remember everything she has ever seen - except for the night when she was eleven, when she woke up in an isolated cottage, to find her mother gone.  Now, twenty years later, she's come back to Galloway looking for answers...

I'm already a fan of Templeton's DI Marjory Fleming, so I expected to enjoy this book, and wasn't disappointed.  It began with a mysterious 'flashback' opening, then moved into character introductions: Marnie herself, her former best friend Gemma and her cushioned middle-class family, a husband and wife parted by a murdered child, forty years ago, Marnie's mother's best friend Anita, and the mysterious Drax in his night-club.  Already my brain was busy trying to work out the connections between them all.  Among them were updates with the police characters, particularly Big Marge herself and her Burns-quoting sidekick MacNee.  Fleming is an attractive everywoman character, determined and driven in her police world, while also juggling the roles of daughter, wife and mother in her farm home.  In this book her learned wisdom is contrasted with the idealistic young Hepburn.  Templeton's descriptions of character and use of dialogue bring you straight into a world of people you can believe in.  There are lovely descriptions of place too - the sea-washed Galloway coast, and the rural interior where Big Marge lives.  The well-focused plot moved along briskly, with fair clueing, a number of unexpected twists, and a satisfying solution.  The on-going plots with the police characters' families add interest and depth without taking over.  This is DI Fleming's eighth outing, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone. 

A classic police thriller with a dark, modern twist.  Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Aline Templeton grew up in  the fishing village of Anstruther, on the east coast of Scotland not far from St Andrews.  The memories of beautiful scenery and a close community inspired me to set the Marjory Fleming series in a place very like that – rural Galloway, in the south-west of Scotland. Aline read English at Cambridge University. Alone lives with her husband Ian in Edinburgh in a house with a balcony built by an astronomer to observe the stars, with a splendid view of the castle and the beautiful city skyline.

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.

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