Broken Ground @ValMcDermid

I am such a huge fan of Val McDermid and always look forward to her new releases. If you are like me, you will be excited to know that Broken Ground, her latest in the Karen Pirie series will be released in December in the US next month, December.


Alice Sommerville’s inheritance is lying at the bottom of a peat bog. However, she gets more than she bargained for when the retrieval specialists discover a body with a bullet hole. Pirie, who is back after a leave, is now working cold case files and is assigned to the case. However, the investigation uncovers more questions than answers.

McDermid is known as the Queen of Scottish Mysteries and there is a reason for this. She writes thoroughly researched, expertly woven intrigue with a hearty dose of atmospheric details about her homeland, Scotland. Her books, including Broken Ground, are not fast paced reads but, rather, good solid sleuthing just as a police procedural should be. There are plenty of twists and more than one mystery in Broken Groundwhich will keep you invested in the story from beginning to end.

This is, of course, part of an ongoing series and, while there are multiple references to past cases, these references also serve as a guideline for any new reader so that the reader will not be confused. It is helpful to read the other books first, but it certainly is not necessary to enjoy the story or follow along with the characters. Whether you are new to McDermid or an avid fan, like me, Broken Ground is a perfect choice for a long winter’s read.

My thanks to #Netgalley, #GroveAtlantic, and #ValMcDermid for my copy of this suspenseful tale.

Happy Sunday to You All


It is a lazy, hazy Sunday here in the Midwestern US as most of the country is celebrating Memorial/Decoration Day and the unofficial start to summer. In my town, we are geared up for the INDY 500 with race flags flying high. As for me, I’m reading of course. What else would you do on a long weekend? I still am playing “catch-up” from my long list of books that were neglected over the winter. One of those turned out to be real gem: Coffin Scarcely Used by Colin Watson, a republication by Farrago Books.

Coffin, Scarcely Used is a bona-fide, authentic police procedural at its finest. Originally published in 1958, the Flaxborough Chronicles are a mid-century nod to writers such as Agatha Christie where the police are in the spotlight but the townsfolk are the real stars. The book reminded me so much of Miss Marple with the characters in the town playing such an important role in the solving of the crime and these characters are what truly bring the book to life. You think you are reading just another simple cozy until you get to know the people of the town – the good and the bad.

I found this throwback to mid-century Britain a very welcome relief from hard core crime as well as from amateur detectives who apparently know more than real detectives about solving crimes. I also really enjoyed the fact that the book was extremely well edited and well written and it executed a dry, witty humor primarily  because it was from another era. These things are missing from many mystery/thrillers written today.

I highly recommend Coffin, Scarcely Used for anyone who enjoys mysteries, cozies or who is simply in the mood for some light summer reading. As for me, I’ve moved on to Book Number Two in the series. Happy Reading!