Book of the week

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A Place of Execution
Val McDermid
1999, 404 pages
Setting: Derbyshire, England, 1963-64 and 1998

Having watched the latter part of the PBS Masterpiece Contemporary production of “A Place of Execution” on television this fall, I decided to read the book and get the full story.

What a well-written psychological suspense story. Of course it does differ in many ways from the television version. In 1963, 13-year-old Alison Carter goes missing from a tiny village in the Derbyshire Dales. A young detective inspector, George Bennett, is moved to persist beyond the norm in trying to find the girl. In the end someone is found guilty of murder and hanged (I won’t spoil it for you and tell you who), even though Alison’s body was never found.

Thirty-five years later a journalist, who was the same age as Alison and living in the area when Alison disappeared, decides to revisit the case, interview all interested parties still living, especially George Bennett, and write a true account of the entire case. George uncovers some new information and the jouranalist must figure out what it is and decide what to do with it.

Val McDermid writes a great story. This one won several awards. She also has a series of mysteries with private investigator Kate Brannigan and another series with the journalist Lindsay Gordon. It appears her stand-alone mystery/suspense stories are the most popular – “The Grave Tattoo,” “The Distant Echo,” “Killing the Shadows” and “A Darker Domain” are all listed as NoveList Bests. I plan to read more of this author.

NoveList is the online resource we provide on our website to help you find your next book. If you like a well-known author use NoveList to find other authors who write similarly. If you’ve discovered a series you like and you’re not sure what all the titles are and in what order they fall, you can find it on NoveList.

Author: kmackenzie

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