Still Life
by McDermid, Val

"The UK's "Queen of Crime" Val McDermid returns to her propulsive series featuring cold case detective Karen Pirie, who finds herself investigating the shadowy world of forgery, where things are never what they seem. Still Life is intensely gripping fromthe first page and further proof that McDermid is writing at the top of her game. When a lobster fisherman on an early morning run pulls in his traps, he finds something he wasn't expecting to catch-a body. Turns out the dead man was the brother of a senior Scottish government official who vanished without a trace, and Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is asked to take over the investigation. At the same time, a woman in the wealthy enclave of Perth is clearing out her sister's home after a fatal road accident and finds a mysterious camper van in the garage containing a skeletonized body. But who is it? And how long has it been there? The two cases will draw Karen into the world of imposters, identity theft, and art forgery"-

Val McDermid's best-selling novels have won the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year Award, and the Crime Writers' Association's Gold Dagger and Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for outstanding achievement. She is also a multiple finalist for the Edgar Award, including for the Fact Crime nominee Forensics.

*Starred Review* Detective Inspector Karen Pirie, head of the cold-case squad in Fife, Scotland, returns for a sixth time (after Broken Ground, 2018) to juggle two cases, both made extremely complex by confounding sets of false identities that emerge after a lobster fisherman pulls a dead body from the Firth of Forth, and the death of a woman in a motorcycle accident leads to the discovery of a skeleton in an old VW van in her garage. The investigations unfold as she deals with the "bubble of rage" inside her head that's just about to burst when the man responsible for the gruesome death of the great love of her life is released from prison. Pirie prevails despite the usual administrative interference, an assault on a team member, and the experience of a brief visit to Paris that finds Madame Commandant Pirie's "monoglot self" surprisingly uneasy and in an unusual contrast to her usual self-confident demeanor. In an email to her current lover, Hamish, she describes herself as gallus (daring, cheeky) and thrawn (obstinate, intractable), two Lowland Scottish terms that fans will be delighted to bandy about. In her acknowledgements, McDermid notes her experience of writing in the "strange half-world of lockdown," finding sustained concentration difficult, but she has nonetheless managed to keep her detective right on target and the reader enthralled. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

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