Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blood in the Water - Gillian Galbraith

This seems to be the time of year when I find myself reading mysteries. Well, I always enjoy a good mystery but in the last week I've read The Attenbury Emeralds, Convent on Styx, listened to Blood in the Water on audio book & I've started Murder in Bloom by Lesley Cookman. I first came across Gillian Galbraith's novels at Dani's blog, A Work in Progress. The series sounded intriguing & I enjoy books with Scottish settings so I borrowed Blood in the Water, the first in the series, on audio & I've spent some very enjoyable hours in the car listening to it. At times it was hard to get out of the car, I wanted to listen to just a little more. Part of the enjoyment was that it was read by Hilary Neville, one of my favourite narrators. She reads a lot of Scottish books & to my unScottish ear, does a wonderful job with the accents. She has read quite a few D E Stevenson novels as well.

Blood in the Water introduces DS Alice Rice. Alice is in her 30s, lonely, unattached, devoted to her dog & obsessive about her work. The first chapter of the book takes us into the life of Dr Elizabeth Clark, a gynaecologist, & her work at various clinics & hospitals. I was just becoming fond of her when the doorbell rings while she's in the bath, talking to her mother on the phone about Christmas presents. At the beginning of the next chapter, Alice & the team are investigating Dr Clark's murder. Dr Clark's throat has been cut & the obvious suspect seems to be her ex-lover, an artist who broke off their relationship when he felt betrayed by Dr Clark's actions.

This theory starts to look a little tenuous when the next murder occurs. The victim, Sammy McBride, is a labourer with no obvious connection to Elizabeth Clark. The MO is the same & a piece of paper has been left by both bodies with a single word printed on it. Unreliable, Untrustworthy. Is there a connection & what could it be? Then, a prominent QC is murdered in the same way. Desperate to find a connection before the press start creating a panic about a serial killer on the loose, Alice relies on old fashioned legwork to find a pattern to the murders. Until she can find a pattern, she won't know how many victims the killer has their sights on.

I was intrigued by the plot right from the beginning. It was fascinating to follow the victim through their final day, trying to work out how they could be connected. The police interviews with friends, famillies & suspects slowly brought out more & more of the story with a few red herrings to throw the reader off the track. Although the setting is completely modern, this was a traditional police procedural with very little of the flashy forensics that seems to be the fashion these days. I've reserved the second book in the series, Where the Shadow Falls, also on CD read by Hilary Neville. I can't wait!


  1. So glad you liked this--I was also drawn to the more traditional style mystery/solving of the crime as well. I am having a hard time getting my hands on the second and fourth books (have read the third--am a little out of order with this series), so I may have to break down and place an order with TBD soon. It's funny as I was also becoming interested in and sympathetic towards the doctor just when she was murdered! But I do like how Galbraith gives a good sense of each character, however they end up in the story. Doesn't a good narrator/reading make all the difference when it comes to audio books? I walk but like to listen to my MP3 player, but it is a little too cold for it at the moment--I have to keep my ear muffs on!

  2. This sounds good. I've never heard of this author before, but I'm always on the look-out for a good mystery. (As if I didn't have enough in the house as it is.)

    I must say though, I do resent it when I get fond of a character and then that same character is bumped off. ;)

  3. Well, at least Dr Clark was killed at the end of Chapter 1, it's not as though we had half the book to get to know her & then she was killed. Still, I think it's a sign of a good writer that I became so involved in her story in just one chapter & it was a shock when she was murdered. she was more than just an anonymous corpse as were the other victims because they were all introduced to the reader thoroughly before they died.