Common Murder by Val McDermid

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Common Murder (Lindsay Gordon, #2)Common Murder by Val McDermid

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I very much enjoyed reading this book. Published in 1989 it is set in Brownlow Common, a fictional substitute for Greenham Common, where women set up a peace camp to protest about the siting of American cruise missiles on British soil. As such, it captured a sense of the late nineteen-eighties and the political turmoil of that time in the UK.

“Write what you know,” they always say, and in this, her second novel, Val McDermid does. She keeps a good pace going as her journalist protagonist, Lindsay Gordon, investigates what is happening to her friend and, in the days before mobile phones and internet access, dictates copy on public phones. She weaves a believable story, dropping necessary clues throughout so that what Lindsay finds out and what she does both have foundations in the book. I particularly approved of the ending where the events of the story have a lasting effect on Lindsay, rather than there being a simple re-set. (Cryptic, much? Trying to avoid the spoilers an’ all.)

And, yet, I did feel a little dissatisfied after finishing. I didn’t notice while reading the book which might provide the moral of “don’t analyse too much” but this is me and I can’t help it. I have struggled to explain it. The best I can say is that the psychology of the murder victim and the events make sense but I didn’t really feel them. Lindsay observes them and so do we, in fact, we observe Lindsay observing and analysing them. They didn’t quite come alive for me.

However, what happens to her personally does come alive for me, which is why reading the book was enjoyable and I do want to know what happens to her next. It is interesting watching Ms McDermid’s skill grow, as well.

In conclusion, I recommend it as a good read especially if you remember the 1980s.

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