Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Place of Execution

I usually avoid books and movies that have child endangerment as a major plot element, so I'm not sure how I ended up with A Place of Execution, by Val McDermid. The story is told in two parts. The first, and by far the longer, section deals with the disappearance in 1963 of a 13 year old girl from her insulated English community and the resulting investigation by newly promoted fast-tracked inspector George Bennett. I think this section is much stronger than the second part, which picks up the story in 1998 from the perspective of a journalist who has succeeded in convincing Bennett to cooperate in a book on the story. The latter part has way too many coincidences to be at all believable.

This book is a stand-alone novel, but the author has written 3 series.

A Methodist sighting:

George looked around the church hall with an air of resignation. In the pale-yellow light, it looked dingy and cramped, the pale-green walls adding to the institutional flavour. But they needed an incident room large enough to accomodate a CID team as well as the uniformed officers, and there were precious few candidates within striking distance of Scardale. Pressed, Peter Grundy had only been able to come up with either the village hall in Longnor or this depressing annexe to the Methodist Chapel that squatted on the main road just past the Scardale turn-off. It had the advantage not only of being closer to Scardale, but of having a telephone line already installed in what claimed, according to the sign on its door, to be the vestry.

"Just as well Methodists don't go in for vestments," George said as he stood on the threshold and surveyed the glorified cupboard.

Sounds like a singularly unattractive place in need of a little attention from the trustees.

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