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THE GRAVE TATTOO by Val McDermid

THE GRAVE TATTOO

By Val McDermid

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 2007
ISBN: 0-312-33921-6
Publisher: Minotaur

An ambitious reworking of the demi-historical mode of Possession with a mutiny substituting for one love story and a series of murders taking the place of the other.

Ever since her childhood days in the Lake Country hamlet of Fellhead, Jane Gresham has wondered about the rumor that Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian escaped the slaughter at Pitcairn Island and returned to England with a tale that gave his old schoolmate William Wordsworth material for a lost epic poem. When a corpse that could be Christian’s is found in a Fellhead peat bog, Jane talks her boss into giving her two weeks off to see if she can locate any trace of a Wordsworthian Mutiny on the Bounty. Despite her inside track on the connection between the sailor and the poet, however, there are some important things Jane doesn’t know. She doesn’t know that she’s racing her unscrupulous ex-lover Jake Hartnell and her brother Matthew, a resentful local schoolmaster, for the poem. She doesn’t know that Tenille Cole, a tough kid she befriended in London, has come running after her with the police in hot pursuit. And she doesn’t know that one of the people competing with her for the prize doesn’t mind killing to get it.

The criminal is obvious and Tenille’s behavior incredible. But McDermid (The Torment of Others, 2005, etc.) handles the interplay between past and present with masterful and infectious conviction.