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Still Life: The heart-pounding number one…

Still Life: The heart-pounding number one bestseller from the Queen of… (edição: 2021)

de Val McDermid (Autor)

Séries: Karen Pirie (6)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
17818122,380 (4.07)14
Título:Still Life: The heart-pounding number one bestseller from the Queen of Crime
Autores:Val McDermid (Autor)
Informação:Sphere (2021)
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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Still Life de Val McDermid


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A body is found along a canal, a body of someone who has been missing for the past ten years. It was thought to be a guy who was implicated in the apparent murder of his brother some ten years previously. So, DCI Karen Pirie, of the Historic Cases Unit becomes involved.

It seems that the guy they picked up had joined the French Foreign Legion subsequent to his disappearance, and then become part of a jazz combo in Paris. Well, lots goes on, and it's a rather fun book. I'll not bother with a significant synopsis.

One of the quotes I rather liked Fucking sax. It's like catnip to women. Should be called a sexophone. . Sounds like I should have taken up the sax rather than the flute. Oh well....

Another fun quote: "He's solvent, he's single, and he's sexy, and from what I've seen he's quite clearely smitten? What more do you want?
I wouldn't disagree that the above four esses are important, but just as important, I think would be a fifth 's', "smart". I would imagine being stuck with a dumb partner could be pretty aweful, despite said partner's being solvent, single, sexy, and smitten. Others might disagree, but I'm eternally grateful I chose to settle down with someone who was also smart.

FWIW, this book would be *** were GoodReads to allow s and -s.
( )
  lgpiper | Sep 7, 2021 |
An easy reliable murder mystery. I think this would be more interesting as a TV series. ( )
  Okies | Jul 30, 2021 |
Been reading a lot of good books, and have gotten out of my habit of writing reviews, so I thought I would go back in time and see how some of them hold up. Starting with [b:Still Life|53142911|Still Life (Inspector Karen Pirie #6)|Val McDermid|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1586703268l/53142911._SX50_.jpg|79918552] because I love [a:Val McDermid|5672|Val McDermid|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1241725522p2/5672.jpg] and I have some things to say about women writers of crime fiction.

This series is actually the first I tried of McDermid's books--I had held off because I'd been on a Scottish crime fiction tear (I'm still on it), and though she is a Scottish writer, a good number of her books were set in England. Not that I'm a snob, I'm just obsessive in my likes. I'm sorry I waited as long as I did, because McDermid is great. I mean, really good. One of the best.

One thing I noticed about the first book in this series ([b:The Distant Echo|46614|The Distant Echo (Inspector Karen Pirie, #1)|Val McDermid|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1316130739l/46614._SY75_.jpg|566979]) is that it read more like a standalone novel. In fact, I believe I read this one thinking it was a standalone novel, as I don't recall any indication that it was the start of a series. Furthermore, unless I'm just really misremembering, I don't know that Karen Pirie was really that central to the book until the very end. I have a theory about first novels in series, especially by particularly good writers (see: [a:Karin Slaughter|12504|Karin Slaughter|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1565730670p2/12504.jpg] and the first Will Trent novel) is that they could go either way--either a good standalone, or a series. Obviously there's a lot more to it and I won't get into it here, but when I read the first Will Trent book ([b:Triptych|21717|Triptych (Will Trent, #1)|Karin Slaughter|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1442531921l/21717._SY75_.jpg|2479325] I immediately thought of Karen Pirie, because their firsts seemed to echo each other in terms of how they differed from other series entries. Thicker, is really the word that comes to mind, more substantial I suppose because the world that subsequent books will exist in hasn't been developed yet. Anyway, I'm on a tangent.

What stands out to me about this book is how McDermid, and Pirie as a character, juggles multiple story lines, and successfully, so that it doesn't seem thrown together for the sake of length. Here, Pirie gets caught up in a couple of different cases, and McDermid does it very skillfully. For other series that focus on cold cases, this particular subgenera can seem limiting, and in fact those that have dipped into cold cases (in the instances where the detectives age in "real time," such as [a:Michael Connelly|12470|Michael Connelly|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1539114448p2/12470.jpg]'s Harry Bosch and even [a:Ian Rankin|33031|Ian Rankin|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1270338491p2/33031.jpg]'s Rebus) they usually don't stay there forever, and authors find a way to get them back into "live" cases. McDermid does that, but in a natural way that keeps Pirie where she wants to be, in cold cases, but doesn't seem like a stretch at all. The result is an engaging story that follows a number of different narrative lines without seeming far-fetched. In fact, a new character seemingly gets introduced, and a good one at that, all in a way that serves the over-arching narrative. It's just a testament to McDermid's skill as a writer.

Finally, but relatedly, one of the things that bothers me in the crime fiction world is that when detectives are involved in multiple cases, or at least the book is including multiple cases, these multiple threads have a tendency to all be connected, leaving me to think "oh, that's convenient." I recognize that obviously a novel is a singular story in many respects, but that never seemed like the kind of verisimilitude I wanted in crime writing. McDermid introduces a few different crimes that are related, but come about because of the initial, and all in a very natural way. In other words, the multiple separate investigations are prompted by the initial, so that everything is connected but not parts of a whole that make the "whole" seem contrived.

I love Karen Pirie. She seems like a real person, with faults, that struggles at times but mostly gets things right. Her relationships persist, and I really like that she experiences grief over lost loved one even as she works at making a new relationship work in ways that reflect her values. I also like that she's as competent as any other fictional detective without the cock-sure approach that a lot of (admittedly beloved) male characters can be, which honestly gets a little tiresome.

Finally (fer real this time), I know this is mostly about the series and not the book itself, so I'll say this: each Pirie novel gets better. McDermid is really good about not falling into ruts. I don't know that I would say she challenges the genre of crime fiction, nor would I want her to; we genre fans are fans for a reason. But it's nice that I can't predict a lot of what she writes, and even when it suddenly is clear what's going to happen, watching the unfolding is a delight. There are few series authors who do this, and none that do it better. And Karen Pirie is my favorite of the moment. ( )
  allan.nail | Jul 11, 2021 |
It's a brilliant police procedural thriller, with two distinct storylines both involving stolen identities. There's a distinct Scottish atmosphere with plenty of unique Scots slang and jargon throughout the story. Also there's plenty of attractive characters: DS Daisy Mortimer, DC Jason Murray and of course Karen Pirie herself, a flinty hard-edge cop, with a political boss, ACC Ann Markie (AKA "the Dog Biscuit"). Readers can learn some trivia about such arcane topics as Artist's Resale Royalty and European Arrest Warrants. It can easily be read as a standalone, even though it's the sixth in a series
A nit for me was about the plethora of acronyms (DVLA. RTA, SORN. PNC (as a verb) and GDPR) that I needed an online dictionary to sort out. Despite that, it's a superb read. ( )
1 vote BrianEWilliams | Mar 10, 2021 |
In the sixth installment of this series, Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pririe, head of Police Scotland’s Historic Crimes unit, juggles two cases. In the first, a woman in Perth, while cleaning out her recently deceased sister’s house, finds an odd camper van in the garage and in it, a skeleton. In the other case, a lobsterman finds more than he expects when he pulls in his trap: a body…and it is thought to be related to an older case of a missing individual tied to government official.

Val McDermid has written a near perfect, well-balanced crime novel. The cases are complex and much time is spent on the (what I call, delicious) process of “solving” the puzzle of them. Her characters are varied and interesting, terribly human like the rest of us. And while there is some suspense and maybe one action scene, she deftly works them in without it taking over everything else. And make no mistake, it is the detectives in this book who "solve" the crime.

This is one of those “nothing-gets-done-until-I-finish-this-book” books, and it came just when I needed that very thing. ( )
2 vote avaland | Jan 16, 2021 |
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