Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Val McDermid: Report for Murder

This is the first Lindsay Gordon mystery - and it must be a newly acquired by the library, because I haven't seen it before. It looks like a reprint... now that the Hill/Jordan crime novels are such a hit I suppose the publisher is more keen on flogging even the books about the gay journalist sleuth, or so the cynic in me supposes.

Lindsay goes to a girl's boarding school to write a cover piece, which will help the school raise funds to save some of their playing fields. This goes against her principles really, but she's helping her friend who teaches there, and at the same time earning some much-needed cash. Just before the fund-raising concert the star of the show is found strangled to death, and Lindsay's friend is arrested for the murder. Lindsay and her new girlfriend set out to discover what the police obviously must've missed. This is the book that introduces girlfriend Cordelia, who will in later books turn out a bad egg - I'd love to ask McDermid if this was planned from the start or not!

I am, as I've said, very fond of Lindsay, but I have to admit that these novels are not among McDermid's best. Much as I am loathe to admit it, the Hill/Jordan novels have that honour. They are more emotional and descriptive, which makes for a better work of literature on the whole. Since Report for Murder is the first one of all it can be excused for being a little too formulaic, however.

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