The author of Field of Blood (2005) sends her dogged Glaswegian reporter-investigator trudging through a second case.
Is there a fleck of hope in the grime and despair of 1980s Glasgow? Not for Paddy Meehan. Nudged up from copygirl to night crime reporter at the Scottish Daily News, Meehan joins two policemen as they check out a report of domestic violence in one of the city’s few tony neighborhoods. Though a blood-spattered blonde woman stands in the background, a handsome man assures Paddy the situation has calmed and presses a 50-pound note into her needy hand, an act the attendant policemen may have spotted. The next morning, Paddy learns the blonde has been found dead, her teeth extracted, the back of her head smashed. A few days later, police fish a suicide from the river and proclaim him the killer. A look at the corpse convinces Paddy that this was not the handsome man she interviewed, the man she’s certain was the killer. Who was he? And where is he now? Fearing for their jobs in the face of cutbacks and a ruthless editor, her fellow reporters offer Paddy little help tracking the suspect. She’s hobbled as well by the possibility that someone will learn she took a bribe. She comes clean with the police but isn’t sure she has their trust; they may be pulling punches in pursuing the case. When someone firebombs a car in which she’d been riding, it seems her own life is at risk. Hope eventually “skirls,” as Paddy would say, but only briefly, as a personal crisis dovetails with the resolution of the case.
Mina meticulously creates a bleak, Dostoevskian world abandoned by light and spirit, populating it with sharply drawn characters.