Judith Cutler is the author of many short stories and some thirty novels. Her most recent is Ring of Guilt (Severn House) the latest in the series featuring antique dealers Griff Tripp and Lina Townend. Check out the other novels on www.judithcutler.com
This is the third in the St Andrews set crime series featuring DCI Andy Gilchrist. Not having read the previous two, as I haven’t, shouldn’t stop you enjoying this pacy thriller set in 2004. Not knowing St Andrews shouldn’t be a problem either.
DCI Andy Gilchrist has to investigate an extra body in a grave, put in there soon after the legal occupant had been interred. As the skeleton’s identity is discovered he realises that there is a connection with a tragedy in his own family many years before. Soon he is uncovering more of his late brother’s life, that of his American girlfriend, and the chaotic sexual mores of the latter’s university colleagues. His investigations, some of which take place in the USA, are hindered not just by the lapse in time but also by a colleague who is determined to bring him down and seizes on a serious error in Gilchrist’s professional conduct to do so.
So far, so good. Perhaps one or two of the characters aren’t drawn as well as they good be, and their motivation isn’t always clear. Gilchrist himself is obliged to have a fractured personal life. The language is mid-Atlantic, Americanisms sitting oddly in a historic Scottish outpost, which isn’t in fact as fully realised as it could be. The denouement features the protagonist overcoming improbable odds, culminating in a nude drive to a police station.
On the plus side, there was never a point when I didn’t enjoy the book. I suspect that as Muir grows in confidence and develops his own style he’ll become a very good writer indeed. Why not read Tooth for a Tooth and see what you think?