It’s a Mystery: A Darker Domain, by Val McDermid

5.0 out of 5 stars Heiresses and scabs

A badly botched kidnapping, and a long-missing person are the two latest cases brought to the recently formed Cold Case Review Team, headed by newly promoted DI Karen Pirie. These cases are more than 20 years old, one brought back to the surface by a mother desperate to locate a donor for her medically fragile son, and the other by a well known investigative reporter who stumbled upon a crucial piece of evidence while vacationing in Italy. Unfortunately, DI Pirie’s boss is more interested in public relations and budgetary issues than he is in stirring things up. Not one to become too concerned with riling up the boss, ignoring the rule book, or stepping on important toes, however, Karen is determined to get to the bottom of things.

Val McDermid has produced a page turner here, expertly revealing bits of evidence via the technique of interspersing chapters about then amongst the chapters about now. The reader gets the evidence as soon as the tecs do, and puzzling yet intriguing bits  they are. The Italian bureaucracy, the ethics of journalism, the corrupting power of money, and the refusal to cave under any of these pressures, drive this plot to a truly surprising conclusion. A Darker Domain is crime fiction at its best, and McDermid is at the top of her game.

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