The Red, Red Snow by Caro Ramsay

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The Red, Red Snow by Caro Ramsay

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: It's book eleven in the series and undoubtedly better if you've at least some knowledge of what's gone on before. It's a cracking good story though and it kept me guessing right to the end. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: June 2020
Publisher: Severn House
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0727889232

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In Glasgow, Eric Callaghan of Inkermann Tattoo Parlour had been to the ice show with his wife, Geraldine and daughter, Lisa when he was stabbed in Planet Burger. He died within minutes, but his murder seemed motiveless and there were no clues. He was a genuine man and a talented artist: those investigating his death had hit a dead end. There were two deaths to investigate in the north of Scotland: it wasn't thought wise to involve the local murder team as someone on the Glen Riske police force was indirectly involved in the case. Christmas - and a lot of snow were rapidly approaching.

Two German tourists were staying at Rhum Cottage. They should have gone to Eigg Cottage but that didn't have a downstairs bedroom and bathroom. Suzette Catterson, whose family was occupying Rhum Cottage, was happy to make the swap: her husband, the obnoxious Jonathan and her even more obnoxious daughter were not so happy, but that didn't displease Suzette. The tourists were quite happy about the party which was happening that night in Rhum Cottage - 'the gathering', as it was known - and joined in the fun.

Charlie Priestly earned some extra money by going in and cleaning up after the party each year, but the next morning he was found curled up in the bottom of the shower at home, bloodied and incoherent. When he'd got to Rhum Cottage he'd found one of the tourists dead - and there was a lot of blood. When DCI Colin Anderson and DI Costello got to Glen Riske there was another body - the tourist's wife - who was in the garden. Snow should help when it's at a crime scene but on this occasion, it created more of a mystery. The only footprints were those that could be accounted for: surely this wasn't down to the snow sprite, stories of which so terrified children?

Anderson and Costello were joined in Glen Riske by DC Morna Taverner, who you'll remember from The Sideman. If you haven't read The Sideman but are intending to then you'd best read it before The Red, Red Snow, as there's quite a spoiler in there. Anderson's marriage is on the rocks and Brenda has made it plain that she wants a divorce and to move on her relationship with Rodger - who has moved into the Anderson household. Anderson isn't particularly worried - and you get the feeling that it wouldn't take a lot of encouragement for something to start between him and Morna Taverner.

It's a big cast and Caro Ramsay handles it with aplomb, but it is easier to keep track of who's who (and why) if you have some knowledge of what's gone on in previous books. I've now read the last three books in the series but I still keep getting caught out by references to something which went on before I joined the party. It didn't spoil my enjoyment though!

The plot is very good - I was completely taken aback when the solution was revealed, despite all the clues being there. It's a clever story, almost harking back to the golden age of crime fiction in its ingenuity and it brings the north of Scotland (in winter) to life in all its chilly glory. I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy: I just hope that it's not too long before we meet Anderson and Costello again.

For more Glasgow crime, take a look at Bobby March Will Live Forever (Harry McCoy) by Alan Parks. For more Scottish murder, try The Ghost of Helen Addison by Charles E McGarry.

Caro Ramsay's Anderson and Costello Novels in Chronological Order

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