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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 8 July 2014
I can only give this book 1 star. This is unfortunate because it is actually very well written. Ms Gray’s descriptions of locations make you feel that you are there and her characters and what they think are realistic and thought provoking. She has clearly done a lot of research as well. I worked for Strathclyde Police for 27 years and can confirm that Stewart Street Police Office and Pitt Street, the Headquarters, are both as she describes them.
What lets the book down however is one of its basic themes. Colin is arrested and ends up in prison charged with murder, even though there is insufficient evidence against him. Let me reassure readers that this could not happen.
You cannot be put in prison just because a Detective Inspector thinks you are guilty. Even if the D.I. is prepared to risk a legal action against her for wrongful arrest, it is highly unlikely that her Superintendent (what happened to the Det. Ch. Inspector in the chain of command?) would fail to tell her that she needed more evidence. Even if this did happen, the Procurator Fiscal (Scottish equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service) would certainly not be willing to prosecute without evidence and even if he or she went along with the idea that a D.I. thinking somebody was guilty was good enough for them, they would still have to convince a Sheriff that there was enough evidence (a prima facie case in legal terms) to detain Colin in prison pending trial.
Poor Colin, languishing in Barlinnie (again full marks for research) wonders who is going to get him out because he didn’t kill anyone. In reality, the answer is that his lawyer would get him out because even if all these other people hadn’t spotted the tiny but important factor that there was no evidence, his lawyer certainly would have.
As has been mentioned by other reviewers, the involvement of the psychologist/criminal profiler seems irrelevant.
I note that in the acknowledgements, four Police Officers are named. I am sure that none of them would have been happy with the contents of this book.
Perhaps Ms Gray has obtained her ideas about police procedures from fictional TV programmes - never a good source to base anything on
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on 12 February 2014
Really do enjoy the writing of Alex Gray. Thoroughly enjoyed this novel, excellently put together with several suspects (yes, I did work out the killer early on). Look forward to reading more of her novels as they come out.
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on 29 April 2013
I have just read the whole series of Alex Gray's Lorimer books, back-to-back, and found every one of them gripping and entertaining. She certainly tells a good story, full of twists and red herrings, and keeps us guessing until the end.

The main characters are strong and generally believable, if sometimes a bit clichéd and stereotyped, and have lives which extend beyond simply solving the mystery and finding the perpetrators. It's good that Maggie, with no direct involvement in the police work, is presented as a character in her own right.

Alex Gray does have a few irritating habits -- most notably, to me, her over-use of the adjective `keen'. I mercifully lost count of the number of characters whose eyes 'held a keen intelligence', or close variations. I think her editor should suggest that she finds a few alternatives.
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on 6 January 2015
Eva Magnusson, the spoilt and beautiful daughter of a Swedish millionaire, applied to be a student in Glasgow. Her father bought her a large flat in the city, even choosing her flat mates of three males and another female, Kirsty Wilson, the daughter of a policeman. When
Eva is found dead, having been struck on the head, suspicion falls on Colin, one of her flat mates. Kristy refuses to believe it and is instrumental in getting the case reopened. Good characterization and sense of place are very much to the fore ..... recommended for those who enjoy a good read.
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on 17 April 2015
I was disappointed by this book. The premise was good and it was written well, but the details of the plot were far too silly. A man gets arrested for murder on the basis of no evidence at all and the police force recruit a young girl, also a potential suspect, as an unpaid investigator, and she is also a relative of a senior officer. Yes that is really going to happen. Unsurprisingly (spoiler alert) the original suspect didn't do it. OK so it's fiction but I was asked to suspend belief to a ridiculous extent. I finished it but at the end wondered why I had bothered.
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Once you get over Colin Young being charged with the murder of Eva Magnusson, the eponymous Swedish Girl, on very little evidence, something hard to swallow in these days of results driven prosecutions, this is a good read. I really felt for Colin and found him to be a realistic character - a gentle boy caught up in circumstances beyond his control. I felt most of the other characters were not so well developed and a bit stereotypical (eg a sex mad Scandinavian), even Lorimer and Brightman. The plot, however, is what kept me turning the pages - the surreptitious re-investigation of Eva's murder and the potential link to 2 other attacks on blond haired woman, although I felt it was all a bit hurried in the end. This is not one of Ms Gray's best books but I enjoyed it for Colin's insights and my high recognition of Glasgow sites - I felt that I could picture where the action was taking place.
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on 22 February 2014
I would give this book 41/2 stars. I loved it! Another brilliant Alex Gray story of D.C.I.Lorimer. Despite his promotion he likes to get stuck in, away from the 'desk job' to the detecting work. All the descriptions of crimes and the Glasgow scenery makes you feel you are there. It certainly kept me interested right to the end, the outcome I didn't suspect at all.
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on 25 May 2014
As always a terrific read from Alex Gray. Lorimer & his family and friends come to life and enfold the reader as one of them, whilst descriptions of Glasgow mean you're really there as the plot unwinds and skilfully keeps you guessing to the end. Keep them coming Alex.
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on 21 August 2013
`The Swedish Girl' by Alex Gray
Published by Sphere, 7 March 2013. ISBN: 978-184744-566-7

Scandinavian blue eyes, silver blond hair, wealthy and gorgeous, Eva Magnusson is the golden girl - the one the girls want to be like, and the boys want to bed. When Kirsty Wilson gains a place in the luxury flat owed by Eva she cannot believe her good fortune. The other flatmates are three guys Gary, Colin and Rodge

The story starts in July when Eva views the flat with her father Henrik Magnusson. We then learn of the lives of the four flat mates as they take up residence at the start of the university term in September. But in December when Kirsty returns to the flat one evening she finds Eva dead.

Detective Superintendent Lorrimer is called to the incident and finds his friend pathologist Dr Rosie Fergusson is the on-duty pathologist. Eventually the police charge one of the male flatmates, but Kirsty doesn't believe that he is guilty and tells her father Detective Sergeant Alistair Wilson of Strathclyde police, but he is unconvinced. Can she persuade Lorrimer that they have the wrong man.

There are many undertones to this book. What exactly was Henrik Magnusson relationship with his daughter? And why did he select three young males as her flat mates, along with home-making Kirsty, no match for a girl like Eva. And elderly neighbour Derek McCubbin trying to avoid living with his daughter - what does he know?

Although not convinced by Kirsty Wilson's stoic belief in the innocence of her flatmate Lorrimer calls on his friend Solly Brightman, to help him find the truth behind the enigmatic Eva.

The discovery of a second body calls into question whether they do have the right man. Compulsive reading, as Lorrimer attempts to discover the truth behind Eva's death.

This is a gripping entry in this acclaimed series, not just because the mystery is tantalisingly complex, but because for followers of this series, we again enjoy meeting with the personal aspect of Lorrimer's life with his wife Maggie. This book is highly recommended.
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Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes
Previous books are: Never Somewhere Else, A Small Weeping, Shadows of Sounds, The Riverman, Pitch Black, Glasgow Kiss, Five Ways to Kill a Man, Sleep Like the Dead, A Pound of Flesh.
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on 4 September 2013
Sadly this novel has stepped away from her early style, it's almost as if someone else wrote the story using her character set of Lorimer and co. Previously the stories have set off with a thorough good murder in the first chapter followed by some great uncluttered story telling but this tale falls into the trend of including miles of text pointlessly describing the surroundings or characters, for example the first eight chapters stick to building characters in the story. Finally, the newer big format book with the floppy pages is terrible, not a one handed read for the commute!
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