George V. Reilly

Review: Garnethill

Title: Garnethill
Author: Denise Mina
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Copyright: 1998
Pages: 402
Keywords: mystery, tartan noir
Reading period: 10-13 May, 2008

Maureen O’Donnell wakes up in her Glasgow flat after passing out drunk and finds her lover tied to a chair, his throat cut. Douglas was a therapist, married to another woman. The police think she’s guilty but can’t prove it: she has a history of mental illness, her mother’s an alcoholic, and her twin brother’s a drug dealer.

Mauri is feisty but flawed, coping fairly re­al­is­ti­cal­ly. She manages to find the real murderer and uncover a nasty case of sexual abuse, against a backdrop of domestic violence, alcoholism, and poverty. Her friend Leslie is a treat; her mother is a horror.

The notes at the back of the book say that Denise Mina got side­tracked from writing her PhD thesis on mental illness and female offenders. This novel is far more readable than the thesis would have been.

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