When a two-year-old girl is reported missing, DCI Andy Gilchrist is assigned the case. But Gilchrist soon suspects that the child's mother - Andrea Davis - may be responsible for her daughter's disappearance, or worse, her murder.
The case becomes politically sensitive when Gilchrist learns that Andrea is the daughter of Dougal Davis, a former MSP who was forced to resign from Scottish Parliament after being accused of physically abusing his third wife. Now a powerful businessman, Davis demands Gilchrist's removal from the case when his investigation seems to be stalling. But then the case turns on its head when Gilchrist learns that a paedophile, recently released from prison, now lives in the same area as the missing child. The paedophile is interrogated but hours later his body is found on the beach with evidence of blunt force trauma to the head, and Gilchrist launches a murder investigation.
As pressure relentlessly mounts on Gilchrist, he begins to unravel a dark family secret, a secret he believes will solve the fate of the missing child.
Praise for T.F. Muir:
'Rebus did it for Edinburgh. Laidlaw did it for Glasgow. Gilchrist might just be the bloke to put St Andrews on the crime fiction map.' Daily Record
'A bright new recruit to the swelling army of Scots crime writers.' Quintin Jardine
'Gripping and grisly, with plenty of twists and turns that race along with black humour.' Craig Robertson
'Gilchrist is intriguing, bleak and vulnerable... if I were living in St Andrews I'd sleep with the lights on.' Anna Smith
Read a couple of months ago in May and albeit against limited competition numbers-wise was May’s pick of the month.
This was my first time with Scottish author Frank Muir and his series character Detective Andy Gilchrist.
Gilchrist is pitched into a difficult case with the disappearance of a two year old girl. Things are further complicated by the fact she is the granddaughter of a former Scottish MSP. A quick resolution appears close at hand when it comes to light that a convicted paedophile has recently moved back to the area. This line of enquiry draws a blank – more so when the suspect is himself found dead.
An interesting police procedural – my first in a while – enhanced by some of the dynamics. Tensions almost leading to violence between Gilchrist and a fellow officer, an on-off relationship with one of the forensic officers, pressure from the hierarchy for a quick close on the case and the recovery of the missing girl, the high profile nature of the case – the press all over it like a rash, with our disgraced ex-MSP fuelling the fire.
Gilchrist has other issues to contend with, in conjunction with the case, namely his love life and the impact it has on his grown-up children, especially his son Jack. Things aren’t too great between the pair of them, his son has used drugs in the past and now appears flush with money. Gilchrist suspects dealing as opposed to a run of luck and some success in his career as an artist. Mistrust and suspicion is mutual, especially when Jack is suspected of sex with a minor.
Back on the job, the difficulties thrust in his way by the fractured factions of the dysfunctional Davis family and the secrets they closely guard make life and the safe recovery of the young child further away than ever. Gilchrist needs to penetrate and unravel …. allegations of abuse, broken marriages, estrangements, mysterious Eastern European connections, smarmy well-heeled lawyers, mental illness, a dead husband and more.
5 from 5
This is the 6th book in the DI Andy Gilchrist series that T.F. Muir (T. Frank in the US) has penned.
If money and time were limitless I'd happily read the earlier 5!
The author’s website is here.
Catch him on Twitter - @FrankMuirAuthor
Thanks to Helen at publishers Little Brown for the review copy. Sorry for the delay!