Still Life by Val Mc Dermid
I loved this book, although it took me a little while to get into it. But once hooked, it really did zip along. The book is the latest in a series featuring Karen Pirie, the head of Scotland’s Historic Crime Unit , and introduces her new sidekick Daisy. The main plot deals with art and the forgery of works of art by important Scottish painters, but also deals with the way in which the lead characters deceive others as they reinvent themselves.
There was lots of Mc Dermid’s trademark humour, often gallows humour, and her detailed scrutiny of police and legal procedures. There are also the most lavish and loving descriptions of food, frequently junk food, crumbly sausage rolls and even a white pudding supper. Daisy will really need to watch her diet at some point. McDermid is also brilliant at nicknames – Dog Biscuit, The Mint, The Ginger Ninja – I will leave you to discover these for yourself.
The author is also great at depicting the complex relationships that develop between work colleagues. My favourite aspect of the book is the way that the action chases between Paris and Caen, Edinburgh to Dublin to Donegal.
The novel is fresh and contemporary, the threat of Covid 19 becoming more and more compelling, and the novel closes on 22nd March just as Karen’s world is about to go into lockdown.
Thank you to Grove Atlantic for an ARC