As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Constable, 6 February 2020. ISBN: 978-1-47212-879-9 (PB)
Everywhere has its dark side, and if T F Muir is to be believed,
Scotland's bleakly beautiful east coast, especially around St Andrews, is
darker than most. The latest in his DCI Andy Gilchrist series opens with the
discovery of an appallingly mutilated body in a wrecked fishing boat. And then
it gets darker.
not-for-the-faint-stomached series has grown more and more complex over its
previous eight episodes, and the ninth sets about ramping things up even
further. While Gilchrist is clambering over treacherous terrain to view the
body, his sergeant, mouthy Glaswegian Jessie Janes, is off piste, trying to do
right by her wanted criminal brother, while also doing her duty as a
policewoman. His boss, Chief Superintendent Diane Smiley, also has conflicting
loyalties. And Gilchrist himself has complications on the home front; his
grown-up son and daughter are both making unusually high demands on his time
A turning point seems to come
when Gilchrist is ordered to hand over his investigation of the fishing boat
murder to another force; with no idea who he can trust, he sets out to find a
way round the chief constable's uncompromising instructions. And that's when it
starts to get really complicated...
The regular characters in the
series – Gilchrist, his artist son Jack and daughter Maureen, Jessie, DC Mhairi
McBride – all seem to develop extra facets in each book. Others take a back
seat here – pathologist Becky Cooper, Gilchrist's old flame; disabled
researcher Jackie; Jessie's deaf son Robert – but still hover in the
background. And the bad guys are as bad as they come.
An unexpected star of the
show here is the weather. It's been said that Britain doesn't have a climate,
it just has weather; if that's so, it all emanates from St Andrews, where
driving rain, a force ten gale, blizzard conditions and glorious sunshine can
all occur on the same day. Gilchrist drives to rendezvous through a downpour,
examines evidence on a beautiful spring day, almost comes a cropper on slippery
terrain. It all forms a backdrop for a plot with more layers and twists than a
plate of sausage rolls, and Gilchrist and Jessie find themselves in their worst
It leaves Gilchrist wondering
if it's all worth it, and if maybe it's time to retire. But something makes me
think he'll be back to fight the bad guys again. I hope so; it would be a pity
to lose one of the best – and darkest – of the tartan noir detectives.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
T F Muir Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Frank was plagued from a
young age with the urge to see more of the world than the rain sodden slopes of
the Campsie Fells. By the time he graduated from University with a degree
he hated, he’d already had more jobs than the River Clyde has bends.
Short stints as a lumberjack in the Scottish Highlands and a moulder’s labourer
in the local foundry convinced Frank that his degree was not such a bad idea
after all. Thirty-plus years of living and working overseas helped him
appreciate the raw beauty of his home country. Now a dual US/UK citizen,
Frank makes his home in the outskirts of Glasgow, from
where he visits St Andrews regularly to carry
out some serious research in the old grey town’s many pubs and restaurants.
Frank is working hard on his next novel, another crime story suffused with dark
alleyways and cobbled streets and some things gruesome.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.