REPORT FOR MURDER by Val McDermid

REPORT FOR MURDER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The first US publication of a novel that appeared in 1987 in England. Here, gay journalist Lindsay Gordon (Deadline for Murder, 1997, etc.), based in Glasgow and presently freelancing to eke out a living, makes her debut when longtime friend Paddy Callaghan, a drama teacher at the Derbyshire House Girls’ School, gets her a magazine assignment for a story on the school’s fund-raising weekend—an event that’s part of the school’s battle to fend off builder James Cartwright, who wants to buy its athletic fields for residential development. Other weekend guests include novelist/talk-show star Cordelia Brown and famed cellist Lorna Smith-Coupey. As the audience awaits a benefit concert that evening, Lorna is discovered dead—-garrotted by a cello string—in one of the backstage music rooms. In short order, a truculent Inspector Dart has jailed Paddy for the killing, and school head Pamela Overton has authorized Lindsay and Cordelia (lovers at first sight) to try to find evidence to clear Paddy. A string of tedious interviews, plus repetitive reviews of time frames and alibis, produces a host of Lorna-hating suspects, but it’s a second death that pushes our journalist-sleuth to a violent confrontation with the not-so-surprising killer. Clumsy plotting, relentlessly verbose characters, and a sluggish pace don’t help Lindsay’s overextended debut outing—one of the author’s lesser efforts.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-883523-24-9
Page count: 272pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1998




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