>Val McDermid, Dead Beat (1992)


This book is the first Kate Brannigan mystery.

The first line: “I swear one day I´ll kill him. Kill who? The man next door.”

Not so unusual in a crime novel, perhaps. But the man next door is Kate´s lover, the rock journalist Richard Barclay. Kate likes the man but she also cherishes her independence which means she is in for a lot of training before her guy is perfect.

When Kate is not busy perfecting Richard, she is one half of ´Mortensen & Brannigan´, private investigators in Manchester. In some ways she may be compared to Sue Grafton´s strong and independent sleuth, Kinsey Millhone.

Kate is employed by the famous rock singer Jett to find his former songwriter Moira Pollock. Missing persons is not her favourite case but she takes it on for the money, and at some point she realizes that … far more interesting and dangerous than she had imagined.

Though Kate´s home base is Manchester, the case takes her to Leeds and Bradford, and the narrator deftly makes the cities come alive:

“The short drive from Leeds to its neighbouring city of Bradford is like traversing a continent. Crossing the city boundary, I found myself driving through a traditional Muslim community. Little girls were covered from head to foot, the only flesh on display their pale brown faces and hands.”

This novel is a traditional private detective mystery of the very best kind. I bought it myself.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in British, review, Scottish, Val McDermid. Bookmark the permalink.

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