Val McDermid's The Distant Echo
is, even more so than with her previous work, a masterpiece of trickery and misdirection. In 1978, four male students find the body of Rosie Duff half-buried in the snow and their lives are variously damaged by the suspicion that falls on them when the murder is never solved; a quarter of a century later, the case is reopened and suddenly the quartet start to be killed one after the other.
This is an effective thriller because it is so intelligent about the ways in which time changes things--secrets that seemed important become trivial and investigative techniques become ever more accurate. It is also intelligent about the ways in which things do not change--the friendships of the four men persist even when one becomes a fundamentalist preacher and another a post-modern literary theorist. Unusually for McDermid, this is a very Scots book as well--the investigating officers Maclennan and Lawson are very much men of a particular time and place. McDermid has a real sense of how to make forensic details count in a murder story--she also, more importantly, has a heart--this is a novel that makes us care passionately about victims and suspects alike. --Roz Kaveney
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘A classic … McDermid pulls out all the stops. Impeccable’ Guardian
‘A few more sly, old-fashioned whodunits like this and she’ll join the sturdy ranks of the queens of crime, on course to become Dame Val or Baroness McDermid’ Sunday Times
‘She has created some of the most appealing figures in current crime fiction. Val McDermid has used the crime genre to write a novel that, above everything else, celebrates life and loyalty’ TLS
‘A real page-turner and another McDermid triumph’ Observer
‘A powerful story of murder and revenge … an exciting page-turner’ Sunday Telegraph