Broken Ground

Val McDermid ( has established a loyal readership for her crime fiction over the last 31 years since the publication of her first novel in 1987.


In a Radio 4 broadcast of 23 September 2018 (‘A Point of View‘ – she argued that crime fiction is not predominantly about murder or the grisly details around foul play. Instead, according to McDermid, crime authors shift people out of their comfort zones and make them squirm. They do this by forcing the reader to acknowledge challenging social concerns, alternative viewpoints and unfamiliar ways of life.  See if you agree that McDermid achieves this in her own writing by taking up her latest outing of DCI Karen Pirie.


The summary is as follows.  When a body is discovered in the remote depths of the Highlands, DCI Karen Pirie finds herself in the right place at the right time. Unearthed with someone’s long-buried inheritance, the victim seems to belong to the distant past – until new evidence suggests otherwise, and Karen is called in to unravel a case where nothing is as it seems.


It’s not long before an overheard conversation draws Karen into the heart of a different case, however – a shocking crime she thought she’d already prevented. As she inches closer to the twisted truths at the centre of these murders, it becomes clear that she’s dealing with a version of justice terrifyingly different to her own.


Check if this profound novel about contemporary social concerns (?) is in stock at your local library here by consulting the online catalogue at


Caution for readers of modern sociology. There may be a murder involved.



432 pages in Little, Brown

First published 2018

ISBN  978-1408709351


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Val McDermid

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