Started yet another mystery series which I will be following avidly. “Blood in the water” introduces Alice Rice, a single, lonely, disillusioned Edinburgh police detective. The setting of the novel is like the cover, cold, dark and wet — Edinburgh in December.
Alice lives for her work. She has no close friends or love interests. Her only companion is her dog Quill, whom she leaves with a neighbour when she is working. The neighbour is elderly, paranoid and sinking into dementia. Also in the novel, are Alice’s ill but very dedicated female boss DCI Bell and her nemesis who ‘annoys her beyond endurance’, DI Eric Mason.
The title “Blood in the water” refers to the journalists who, like sharks circling, pester the detectives whilst they attempt to conduct murder investigations. (p. 72) Of course the reader can have other interpretations… that is the joy of fiction.
Unlike other mystery novels where the victims are unknown to the reader, this novel introduces each of the murder victims and fleshes them out enough for the reader to be invested in them. The reader then takes it personally when they are seemingly senselessly murdered.
The victims are, all but one, professional people. An esteemed women surgeon, and two lawyers one male and one female. The exception seems to be Sammy McBryde, who is a ‘jobbing gardener’. What links these victims?
The author, Gillian Galbraith, is an advocate turned author. Advocate is the term used for lawyer in Scotland. There are many legal passages in the novel which will be confusing to the uninitiated, as the legal system in Scotland seems vastly different to that with which we are accustomed. However, don’t let that deter you from reading the novel, as the writing overall is very entertaining.
Galbraith has a knack of making all of the characters sympathetic. I found myself liking them all…. even the murderer…. Oh dear!
I look forward to the second novel in the series, “Where the shadow falls“.