Lamb to the Slaughter by Aline Templeton
|Lamb to the Slaughter by Aline Templeton|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A well-crafted police pocedural based in rural Scotland delivers a clever plot and interesting characters. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: June 2008|
|Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton|
The dead sheep dumped at the Craft Centre went almost unnoticed. It seemed to be more of a litter problem than anything else and no one was quite certain afterwards if the animal had actually been shot. There was no doubt about Andrew Carmichael though. He'd been shot on his own doorstep on his way to a village meeting. A major supermarket chain wanted to buy the Craft Centre and convert it into their latest branch. Village opinion was divided. Some were looking forward to the prospect of better shopping than was to be had at the local Spar and more jobs in the area, but local shopkeepers, suppliers and farmers knew that it could be the death knell for them. No one knew whether Andrew Carmichael had decided to sell the Centre or not, but did someone feel strongly enough about the proposed sale to take a shotgun to the elderly man?
This is a cracking story. Set in rural Galloway the local community is understandably divided about a major supermarket moving in. D I Marjorie Fleming is married to a farmer and she's well aware of the effect that the failure of local businesses could have on them. She knows too that every local farmer has a shotgun and tracing the weapon used on Andrew Carmichael is going to be all but impossible. One of her team, Tam MacNee, is on the sick list but is desperate to get back to work. Forced outside the official investigation he's a loose canon and a problem that Marjorie doesn't need. She's stretched to the limit and doesn't even have the time to deal with some young tearaways who are terrorising an elderly woman at her animal sanctuary – but then it all goes badly wrong and she has another death to investigate.
I liked Fleming. Big-boned, unpretentious and a parent herself she has strengths and weaknesses. She's struggling with her daughter who is mixing with some undesirable company and at work she's trying to run a murder enquiry. Her team of detectives are a good mix and all emerged as three-dimensional characters – some you could warm to and others you could smack. The villagers of Kirkluce were convincing too with people struggling to make a living – and one couple depending on an inheritance which was never going to come their way. I felt involved with them all.
The story is well-told, with all the clues laid out and plenty of red-herrings. I certainly didn't spot the murderer and if the book was a little slow to start with it certainly speeded up to a very satisfying conclusion. I've one reservation and that's the dialogue, which sometimes felt a little stilted and occasionally I had trouble establishing exactly who had said what to whom, but that's a minor quibble in an otherwise good book.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Murders must be rife in Scotland as novels about Scottish detectives are arriving thick and fast at the moment. We think you might enjoy the work of Anne Cleeves – start with Raven Black.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lamb to the Slaughter by Aline Templeton at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lamb to the Slaughter by Aline Templeton at Amazon.com.
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