Dark Water, cover

Caro Ramsay's latest novel, Dark Water, is out in paperback. Set around Glasgow in Scotland it should satisfy lovers of challenging detective mysteries.

Complex and Challenging Murder Mystery

Dark Water, Murder Lies Beneath the Surface starts with a violent attack on a young woman, Emily Corbett, on the eve of the new millennium and then jumps forward ten years when a body is uncovered in macabre setting. The murder investigation is picked up by Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Quinn at Partickhill police station.

DCI Quinn is close to retirement and her station, Partickhill, feels as though it is being run down prior to closure. As a result Quinn and the investigating officers, detectives Anderson and Costello, have a particular interest in keeping control of the case. This becomes increasingly difficult as it becomes linked to the Corbett attack, the investigation of which, in theory, is still open at nearby Paisley, a larger police station.

As a result there is a thread in Dark Water about ego and competition between the investigating teams. All the interlinked stories add to the complexity, fortunately it is not a film as much of the story takes place in freezing fog which would make matters even less clear.

Serial Killing Makes Story More Complex

Dark Water, Murder Lies Beneath the Surface gets more complex as further murders take place and other, older cases become linked. There are spates of killing with very particular characteristics but they are interspersed with many years where there are none. The killers always work in pairs and in many of the cases one of the attackers has been either convicted or murdered so the ring leader becomes the target of the investigation.

Ramsay provides considerable detail about the background of the main characters which gives them well developed personalities and allows the reader to understand them as real people. However for some readers there may actually be too much detail that they find gets in the way of the pace of the story.

Although the majority of story is narrated in the third person it occasionally jumps into the first person which at first is very disconcerting as the reader has no idea who is talking. Indeed the reviewer had to go back and reread the first few chapters in case he had missed something. These first person observations pop up throughout the book and are only understandable at the end; whether they add to the story or just create confusion the reader can judge.

A Good but Demanding Read

Dark Water is a good read for those who are prepared to work at following a complex story. It is not the easiest story to follow but will reward the extra effort. It has an advantage that it will last a little longer than many detective mystery novels so should be suitable reading for a decent journey.

Dark Water, Murder Lies Beneath the Surface (2010, ISBN:978-0-141-04434-7) by Caro Ramsay is published in paperback by Penguin at £7.99.


First appeared on Suite101



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