Nigel McCrery, Core of Evil (2007)

This British police procedural is the first DCI Mark Lapslie story. It has been published earlier under the title “Still Waters”.

As the title may indicate, this story is nicely nasty, right from the very first page. In the prologue, which takes place in 1944, Granny Iris wants to prune her roses in peace and quiet, but her lively and curious grandchildren keep disturbing her. Finally something snaps, and Iris grabs the secateurs and begins cutting off their fingers in the best (worst?) nursery rhyme tradition.

The present-time plot begins when Violet Chambers visits Daisy Wilson and offers to make her tea. Even the most innocent activity seems sinister in this story – and with very good reason.

“There were other plants in the garden as well, but she had less interest in those. They might have looked nice, but they had no practical purpose. They couldn´t be used to kill anyone.”

And then there is Mark Lapslie, the detective. Mark has been off on sick leave for some time because he suffers from synaesthesia, or the ability to taste sounds. When his colleagues find a body with no fingers, they decide they need his help, however, so Lapslie must try to conquer his handicap in order to catch a determined killer.

An intriguing plot which is a bit different than most crime stories; perhaps one could talk about a touch of gothic horror rather than strict realism.

Maxine sent the book on to me – thank you for a chilling and entertaining read!

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, Nigel McCrery, review, review 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Nigel McCrery, Core of Evil (2007)

  1. Maxine says:

    It was quite good I thought. I read the next one but the third I did not read as it had the premise of how much a killer could make a victim scream before killing (her? I presume female). So I shan’t be reading more of him though I agree with you that this one was quite cleverly creepy. (Animal lovers should not read his second, btw!)

  2. Maxine: and you probably knew this would be exactly my kind of book, thank you.
    And thank you for warning me off the third one. I really don´t know why they come up with such horrible ideas 😦

  3. I do like gothic horror. 🙂 I’ll have to look this one up…

  4. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – Thanks for this review. It does look deliciously, deliciously creepy. I have to say that I’ve read some reviews of his third and have decided to steer clear.

  5. It does sound chilling. I’ll look into it.

  6. Petty Witter says:

    So annoying when titles are changed like this, don’t you think? I like your describing this book as nicely nasty though.

  7. Kelly says:

    This sounds good! Glad for Maxine’s warnings, though, and if I do read this it will be as far as I go. I can’t abide stories where animals are tortured (and the third doesn’t appeal, either).

  8. Louise says:

    Love the look of your (not so) new blog! Also huge congratulations on your book and all that. I hope you are doing well and having a great time and not being too busy now that school has begun again 🙂

  9. Elizabeth: I think gothic horror is a good way of reading it because if you expect it to be absolutely realistic, you may be disappointed.
    Margot: now the problem is just how to remember NOT to buy the third 😉
    Clarissa: as chiling as a glass of white wine!
    Tracy: yes, that is why I made sure to mention both titles.
    Kelly: don´t worry, in this one it is mainly old women 😉
    Louise: thank you, and it´s nice to hear from you again. The first weeks of school have been great, but let´s see what I say in a month or two…

  10. NancyO says:

    Ooh! I’m all over this one. Just added it to the wishlist. Thanks!

  11. Reminds me of British crime fiction, with the gardening, the poisoned tea, etc. A good read. But I would not like the second or the third books!

  12. Nancy: I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
    Harvee: very British indeed which is so funny because all those things are used for such sinister purposes.

  13. I’m not sure that this is really my cup of tea!!

  14. Beth F says:

    Like others have said, that touch of gothic horror makes me want to try this book.

  15. Margaret: it is good that we have so many different subgenres that there is something for all of us, isn´t it?
    Beth: I also love that once in a while. A varied diet must be healthy for any reader 😉

  16. Pingback: Lost in Translation? | djskrimiblog

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