Place of Execution,A(CD)Lib(Unabr.) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
This superb novel should make Gold Dagger-nominee McDermid's reputation and bring her new readers in droves. It's December 1963 and teenage girls all over Britain are swooning to the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand." In the tiny, remote village of Scardale, Derbyshire, 13-year-old Alison Carter is envied by her peers because her stepfather buys her all the latest records. When Alison goes missing one dark night, Dist. Insp. George Bennett takes control of the case, despite being new to the job and the district. Other children have gone missing recently from towns and cities in the north, but somehow Alison's case is different. Although the police feverishly track down clues and organize searches over the moors, any hope that they'll find the girl fades as the days go by. Obsessed by the case, George is tormented by his lack of success and by the suffering of Alison's mother. Little more can be said without giving away key plot points, but McDermid spins a haunting tale whose complexity never masks her adroitness at creating memorable characters and scenes. Her narrative spell is such that the reader is immersed immediately in the rural Britain of the early '60s. She clearly did extensive research on how police work was done at the time, and it has paid off beautifully. The format of the novel is unusual, with much of it purporting to be a true crime book, but McDermid keeps the suspense taut, and her pacing never flags. This is an extraordinary achievement, and it's sure to be on many lists of the best mysteries of the year. 10-city author tour. (Sept. 20)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Readers will be reminded of the real-life Moors Murders and of Stephen King's fictive eerie-village tales as they make their way through this compelling, funhouse-mirror mystery. McDermid turns the English village cozy on its head as she presents Scardale, a village whose hard-bitten inhabitants try to keep the world out and their secrets in. Part of the mystery is set in the '60s, when several children disappeared and were later found murdered in nearby Manchester. The stepdaughter of Scardale's leading citizen goes missing next. The local police investigating the disappearance are met with byzantine resistance from the villagers at every turn. The mystery deepens throughout, even extending, with a shocking ending, 30 years into the future. McDermid, who won the British Gold Dagger Award in 1995 for Mermaid Singing, brings some cunning new twists to the psychological-suspense genre. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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!
I came away bitterly disappointed. No more than 50 pages into the book, I had a theory about "whodunnit" that seemed so obvious, I thought my theory couldn't possibly be the widely-hyped plot twist. After racing through the book to find out what the "real" surprise was going to be, it turned out that my theory was right on target. So much for the unguessable surprise ending!
I also had a problem with the denouement because it seemed so implausible. I won't spoil the ending for others, but there is no way that these events could occur in real life. The complete lack of nexus between the plot and plausibility made the book seem downright silly.
I suppose if my expectations had not been so high, I would have enjoyed this book more. The format is unusual; the writing is adequate; and the book is not unreadable. But if you purchase this book thinking that you will be getting something truly out of the ordinary, you will be sorely disappointed.
I usually enjoy a detective book but this one didn‘t grip me as I hoped it would. I felt that the characters were not engaging enough, but I did persevere. I was disturbed by the continual description of smoking habits, was it necessary? I really felt that the entire line-up of character’s obsessive chain-smoking was getting in the way of the story, so much so that I actually wondered if it was done for the purpose of word filling.
I appreciated the remote setting’s authentic feel and the parochial villagers. The story was good if a little long and drawn out.
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 Alisonï¿½s disappearance, yet are strangely uncooperative with the police. Yet the diligence of Georgeï¿½s 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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Val Mc Dermid never misses a book, can't wait for the new one.Published 9 months ago by Christian Chartier
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2005
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. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2005 by Susie Sharon
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!Published on June 5 2002
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... Read morePublished on May 21 2002 by J. White
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. Read morePublished on May 17 2002 by Kay L. Robart
One reviewer said this book put him to sleep. He must have taken some serious tranquilizers when he picked up this book. Wonderfully written. Read morePublished on April 30 2002
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