12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
What a beginning,
This review is from: Report for Murder (A Lindsay Gordon mystery) (Paperback)
If you're interested in beginning to read the works of Val McDermid, this is not a book I'd recommend you start with. This may sound somewhat strange advice, after all, where better to start than the beginning? However, it must be said that McDermid's later works are generally considered to be of a higher calibre than her earlier publications.
This aside, the Lindsay Gordon novels are still a gripping read. The writing isn't so mature, but the story lines are gripping enough for it to be passed over. As the first of the series, this book introduces Lindsay as a character and gives a brief background that is not fully built on until the fourth novel, Union Jack. From the off, it's obvious that Lindsay isn't your average protagonist. Anyone who describes herself as a 'cynical socialist lesbian feminist journalist' has got to break the mould just a touch.
The book works very much to the formula of an Agatha Christie novel, with Lindsay and her new lover Cordelia running around gathering alibis, establishing motives, and narrowing down the list of suspects. The plot takes a number of twists and should leave you guessing until the last chapter as to the real culprit.
Alongside the murder investigation, emphasis is also put on Lindsay's developing relationship with Cordelia, which makes for an interesting sub-plot. Some of the dialogue is somewhat wooden, and McDermid never lets you forget where Lindsay's political and social ideals lie. Nevertheless, the characters are engaging and have a knack of making you care for them and their lives.
Overall, if you're looking to discover what all the recent rave reviews about McDermid are about, this isn't the book for you. But if you're interesting in an entertaining and enjoyable read from a strongly feminist slant, then this may well be the book for you.