DI Marjory Fleming # 6
Hodder & Stoughton
March 2011/ ISBN 9780340976999
Police Procedural / Scotland-Contemporary
by LJ Roberts
First Sentence: She had no idea how long she had been walking,
though such light as there was had begun fading into an ominous
DI Marjory Fleming is back from suspension and finds tension within
her team. A major rainstorm has caused a landslide onto Rosscarron
Cottages. One of the tenants has a past she’d rather keep
hidden but it’s difficult since the cottages are on the land
of wealthy Gillis Crozier, whose family is directly involved in
her past. What starts as a trip to the area by DI Fleming and her
1st officer Sgt. Tam MacNee, nearly costs them their lives and leads
them to the investigation of a murder.
Ms. Templeton excels at capturing the reader with a very dramatic
opening even though, at that point, you don’t know the characters,
their background or relationship to the story. That’s a sign
of effective writing. It sets the tone for a story that is dramatic
and tense, which is maintained throughout the story.
There is such a strong sense of place established by detailed descriptions
that it becomes another character in the book. Yet it is the characters
that drive the story. Readers new to the series are introduced to
Marge and Tam with their backgrounds and relationship, as well as
to the other characters. Even those characters who are not likable
are made real, alive and, in many cases, sympathetic to us.
The plot is complicated. It is rather hard to follow, in the beginning;
similar to a jigsaw puzzle tumbled out on a table with a finished
picture being provided. But piece by piece, the bits are brought
together and Templeton allows the image to emerge. Along with the
plot, comes effectively conveyed, strong emotion, secrets being
kept, the devastation of one who is innocent being thought guilty,
the malice of real sociopathy, and a very good plot twist.
What is not here is Templeton’s trademark wry humor, aside
from a reference to Lord of the Rings. While I missed it,
I also understood it as it would not have worked with this particularly
story. Good for her.
Templeton is an excellent writer who deserves a much wider audience.