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Wednesday 15 September 2021

‘The Stalker’ by Alex Gray

Published by Sphere,
21 March 2019.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-7230-8 (HB)

The discovery of the body of a young woman found in Queens Park had been handled by the CID. Now some months on with the culprit never found and a second body discovered with similar MO, the killing has been referred to DSI William Lorimer, now head of the Major Incident Team in Glasgow, to investigate if this death could be at the hands of the same killer.

Although the demands of his job mean that Lorimer is frequently absent from home, his marriage to Maggie has remained strong, despite tragedy early in their marriage and latterly considerable stress that Lorimer has managed to successfully overcome.  But it appears in this the 16th book in the series that Maggie has occupied those long lonely nights profitably by writing a children’s book.  In fact, Gibby the Ghost of Glen Darnel has proved very successful.  And Maggie is on a tour of Scottish bookshops promoting her book, accompanied by her publicist Ivy, whom Maggie does not actually warm to.  However, the varied audiences, the happiness of the children, the book signings and the luxury hotels that her publicist has booked for them almost, but not entirely makes up for missing her husband. 

As Lorimer and his team interview all relatives and contacts of the two victims, they fail to make an actual connection between them, except that they facially resemble each other.  Lorimers friend the psychological profiler Solly Brightman called in to see if they can get a handle on the killer also notices that Maggie also bears a resemblance to the two victims.   Stepping the investigation up to find the killer before he strikes again, Lorimer is pleased that Maggie is luckily away from Glasgow on the book tour.  Bit who and where is the killer?

Happily, for the publishers the large audiences that Maggie is drawing, and the number of books being sold is all good, but for Maggie faced with a sea of new faces every day, she fails to notice one non-descript man always in the back row.

With several surprises this is a gripping read and is highly recommended.

Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

Alex Gray was born 27 May 1950, Glasgow.  She was brought up in the Craigbank area of Glasgow and attended Hutchesons' Grammar School. She studied English and Philosophy at Strathclyde University and worked for a period in the Department of Health & Social Security before training as an English teacher.  In 1976 she lived in Rhodesia for three months, during which time she got married, and she and her husband returned to Scotland. She continued teaching until the 1990s, when she gave the profession up and began to write full-time. Alex is a member of the Femmes Fatales crime writing trio, together with Alanna Knight and Lin Anderson. Her novels are all set around Glasgow and featuring the character of Detective Superintendent Lorimer and his psychological profiler Solomon Brightman.

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