The Sideman by Caro Ramsay

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The Sideman by Caro Ramsay

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: It's book ten in the series and you might struggle to keep up with the characters if you're joining at this stage, but do persevere as it's a good story.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: June 2018
Publisher: Black Thorn
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0727888082

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No one thought that it could happen and can't quite believe that it has: Costello has resigned from Police Scotland. It's all down to her pursuit of George Haggerty whom she believes to be responsible for the murder of Abigail Haggerty (his wife) and Malcolm (her son). Haggerty has a water-tight alibi (caught speeding by Police Scotland, no less) and the powers that be have told Costello to lay off: she's decided to go her own way rather than be hampered by the badge. She didn't even bother telling her long-time partner, DCI Colin Anderson, that she was going. Since then there might have been the occasional text from her, but that's it.

If you've been a long-time followers of Caro Ramsay's Anderson and Costello series then you won't have much trouble in keeping up with what seems like a cast of thousands. For the newcomer it's a little confusing in the early stages of the story, but do persist, because there's a good story waiting for you. Costello was pretty much on her own when it came to believing George Haggerty to be guilty and the team from Police Scotland now find themselves handling the case of a badly-beaten body dumped on a mountain pass, and a substantial amount of blood found at the edge of Loch Lomond. There's also a woman with a serious head wound who won't - or can't - communicate with anyone. Where's Costello, when she's needed?

They might not have Costello, but Complaints - the police who investigate the police - are there. DI Bannon might be able to play good cop, but DCI Diane Mathieson is having no problem in playing bad cop.

Once you've got all the characters sorted in your own mind you'll be able to settle into a very tightly-written mystery, which twisted in ways that I didn't expect. I suspected what was behind the initial killings but Caro Ramsay makes her characters work hard to get the outcome - and it involves people you didn't think would be involved.

As well as reading the book, I listened to an audio download (which I bought myself) narrated by Cathleen McCarron. McCarron wouldn't be my first choice of narrator as I felt that she had a limited supply of 'voices' and, on occasions, struggled with the men and children. DI Bannon's voice seemed particularly contorted, even if it was distinctive. I know that I'm being very picky about this as it didn't stop me listening to the whole of the download in two sessions.

I enjoyed the book. If you read primarily for the involvement of Winifred Costello you might be a little disappointed, but it certainly won't stop me looking about for the next book in this engaging series. I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The Guest List by Lucy Foley.

Caro Ramsay's Anderson and Costello Novels in Chronological Order

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