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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TRUE ENGLISH MYSTERY...
This Edgar Award finalist and New York Times Notable Book of the Year is a beautifully crafted, intriguing mystery, with well-fleshed characters and an intricate plot. Quintessentially English to its core, this mystery will captivate the reader, not only with its plot but with the vivid imagery that the author skillfully conjures for the reader. Filled with a myriad of...
Published on Nov. 11 2008 by Lawyeraau

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but not a great story
In A Place of Execution, we follow the story of Alison Carter, a pretty girl gone missing from her stark, secluded village. The story is told in several layers, the first part being a straight narrative of the search for, arrest of, and trial of the abductor, the second being a choppy series of first-person vignettes in only rough chronological order. McDermid is a...
Published on Aug. 14 2001 by Suzanne B. Kelly


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TRUE ENGLISH MYSTERY..., Nov. 11 2008
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This Edgar Award finalist and New York Times Notable Book of the Year is a beautifully crafted, intriguing mystery, with well-fleshed characters and an intricate plot. Quintessentially English to its core, this mystery will captivate the reader, not only with its plot but with the vivid imagery that the author skillfully conjures for the reader. Filled with a myriad of twists and turns, this book will keep the reader riveted to its pages.

In the winter of 1983, a thirteen year old girl, Alison Carter, out for a walk with her dog, suddenly vanishes from her sleepy, insular English hamlet. Although there is no corpse, an unexpected discovery in a local cave brings George Bennett, the young Inspector assigned to the case, to an inevitable conclusion, leading to an arrest. Despite its resolution, this case will continue to haunt Inspector Bennett for decades to come.

When journalist Catherine Heathcote decides to write a book about the Derbyshire murder case, the now retired George Bennett fully cooperates until the eve of publication, when he suddenly requests that the book not be published for reasons that he refuses to share with Ms. Heathcote. Suddenly, the intrepid journalist senses that there is more to this story than meets the eye, and she sets out to unravel the secret of what really happened to Alison Carter in the winter of 1963. It is a journey of discovery that will fascinate the reader.

Those who enjoy beautifully written, well-plotted mysteries will simply love this highly atmospheric book. The author is clearly a superlative writer, with real talent for writing intricately plotted mysteries, while creating memorable characters. Bravo!
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a read!, Jan. 2 2005
By 
Susie Sharon (Orleans, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This was my first book by Ms McDermid and I hope her other books are as good. This book was fantastic. I loved the charaters, I loved the story. The plot was solid, the twists were superb and it was a first-rate mystery. After being disapointed by the last P. Cornwell books, I was relieved to find another author that I can now look forward to reading. I will for sure pick up her other books. If they are half as good as this one, that's still ten times better then Blowfly and Trace put together!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Mystery, May 21 2002
By 
J. White (Stockton, CA ,USA) - See all my reviews
Val McDermind's story, "A Place of Execution" began a bit dry but quickly that changed. Her characters are well crafted and the sequence of events are masterfully designed. When I came to Part Two, the structure of her story was turned upside down. I wondered where she was going with the introduction of the character Catherine but, just as in the beginning, the story took off again. Once again she took the story and shook up the facts again to reveal another reality. So interesting to see how factual evidence can be seen in so many ways and that the truth, also can display itself in multiple ways. I look forward to her next novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars For Those Who Sit In The Smoking Section, May 3 2002
By 
Bucherwurm "bucherwurm" (California United States) - See all my reviews
Remember when the food and drink naming trend began? The trend of reaching for increased verisimilitude in novels by describing the exact nature of the nourishment consumed by the characters? The protagonist didn´¿t just discuss something over an undefined dinner. He or she spoke while ingesting sweetbreads smothered in a delicate sauce of´¿well you get the picture. In ´¿A Place of Execution´¿ we are informed every time that a character smokes a cigarette. Not only are we enlighted about the lighting up ceremony, but we are also told the brand of the cigarette, and kept abreast of events by updates on ash flicking, inhaling and stub extinguishing. Not that this makes for an unworthy novel; its just odd that Ms McDermid has decided to spend so much time on this particular vice. My hunch is that the author had just given up smoking when writing the novel, and that she is smoking vicariously through her characters.
The novel concerns a young girl who has disappeared from her home in a tiny, secluded town in England. Police Inspector George Barnett is in charge of the case and a dedicated man he is. He devotes most of his time in trying to find young Alison, and we readers share the effort being dragged through hill and dale in the search. The townspeople, being very secluded, would be good candidates for biological research in the investigation of the genetic effects of inbreeding. They are horrified about Alison´¿s disappearance, yet are strangely uncooperative with the police. Yet the diligence of George´¿s intensive search while smoking pack after pack of cigarettes pays off. Someone is arrested for the crime, and is convicted of murder. Then we jump 30 years and find new information about the disappearance that is quite disconcerting. While reading the book a strange thought kept creeping into my mind, a thought that later proved accurate. Will you guess the answer to the mystery? Read the book and find out. It´¿s quite entertaining.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gem of a mystery not to be missed, Jan. 30 2002
Set in England in 1963, this British thriller is anything but a "cosy". Thirteen year-old Allison disappears while walking her dog in the strange, insular and perhaps incestuous village of Scardale. Detective Inspector Bennett, assigned to the case, plunges in and gets to know the villagers, their lives and concerns. Despite his best efforts, neither Allison or her body can be found. Bennett becomes consumed with the case and cannot rest until he finds Allison for her mother. Villagers seem to be both secretive and concerned about Allison, making the job more difficult for police. Clues such as where she could have been abducted and possibly murdered do unfold and point to her stepfather as the suspect.
The novel comes in parts and Part 2 begins when a novelist documents the case 30 years later. Although the crime had been "solved" 30 years earlier, the story and nightmare begin again when Bennett collapses with a heart attack after making a horrible discovery.
A gripping, taut story with intriguing characters and a plot where things are not what they seem. This is my favorite book of 2001.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, Feb. 7 2005
By A Customer
I just finished this book after being told to read it for years. I only wish I hadn't waited so long. It was a great read. It's over 500 pages but it kept my interest. At one point I thought it started to drag and wanted it to move on, but soon it moved on and was interesting from there on.
Reading this book I felt like I was there in Scarsdale the small village. And I knew that something wasn't right about the case of Alison's disappearance. I had the same things nagging at me that Bennett and Clough did. And I was nervous waiting for the results of the trial. What would the verdict be? This book takes you on quite a ride and I strongly suggest reading it if you love the British mysteries.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, June 5 2002
By A Customer
This was a wonderful book with a fictionalized tie-in with the true life English murders from the 1960's. Surprising twist at the end!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Guess the ending, but still found it interesting, May 17 2002
Usually I hate it when I solve the mystery way before the end of the book and do not waver in my opinion, but I still found this novel interesting. It was atmospheric, and I was interested in the characters. An enjoyable read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply one of the best mysteries I've ever read, May 1 2002
By A Customer
One reviewer said this book put him to sleep. He must have taken some serious tranquilizers when he picked up this book. Wonderfully written. One of the few books I just did not want to put down.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Great if you need a nap, April 1 2002
By 
Eve K. Sedgwick (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This glum book is about 6 times as long as it needs to be, and most of the denouement is telegraphed hundreds of pages in advance. Which would be okay if the writing were fun, but it isn't--in this case, "police procedural" means that you get to hear about every cigarette (different characters smoke different brands, isn't that fascinating?) and every cup of coffee or tea consumed in the course of a 37-year investigation. No joke! (And I do mean NO JOKES.) At the same time, you don't learn anything very interesting about the characters as people. I finished this book on a lo-o-ong flight and then began the other book I had with me, a P. D. James that's ostensibly the same genre as this one. But it was so refreshing to start a mystery where the sentences are full of intelligence, and the characters and situations full of surprises! I'd skip this one unless you're an awful insomniac.
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Place of Execution,A(CD)Lib(Unabr.)
Place of Execution,A(CD)Lib(Una
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