16 April 2012

Review: LYING DEAD, Aline Templeton

  • #3 in the DI Marjory Fleming series
  • Published in 2007 by Hodder & Stoughton
  • ISBN 978-0-340-922226-2
  • 422 pages
  • Source: my local library
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

On a beautiful, eerily quiet May morning, a girl is found brutally bludgeoned to death. When Detective Inspector Marjory Fleming arrives, the silence of the scene is broken only by the ringing of the girl's cell phone.

The nearby community of Drumbreck is small and close-knit, but the veneer of contented prosperity conceals nasty secrets and daily betrayals. When another corpse is discovered, DI Fleming quickly realizes she must watch her own back while she searches for the link between the murders.

As she uncovers layer upon layer of intrigue and deceit, it becomes apparent that while the dead can't tell lies, the living most certainly can.

My take

LYING DEAD is a carefully layered book, with the murder mystery at the centre, against a background of minor issues such as sheep dog trials, romantic affairs, financial problems and family management.  What the author successfully demonstrates is that police investigations don't happen in a vacuum. Even individual members of the investigating team aren't necessarily singing from the same hymn sheet.

Marjory Fleming's team has someone leaking scoops to the press, as well as detectives who want to be first to the post even at Big Marge's expense, undermining her authority. Marjory's policing takes place in a small community where she often has personal contact with both victims and perpetrators and has to know when to step back from direct involvement in an investigation or interview.

Marjory's father, once a police officer of considerable standing, is succumbing to dementia and this and other family issues are calling for her attention, but for Marjory the job has to come first.  The murder case takes Marjory away for a night in Manchester, and to meet her equivalent down south. Marjory and Manchester's DCI Chris Carter find an unexpected rapport and there is an interesting contrast in what policing is like in Galloway and Manchester.

What I like about this series is the way Marge works through problems to find solutions. She doesn't always make the best choices, but she is always honest and true to form. The supporting cast of characters are well drawn.
I have now read 4 out of 6 in this series and looking forward to catching up with the other 2.

My rating: 4.6

Also reviewed on MiP: 4.5, DEAD IN THE WATER 
includes mini-reviews of
COLD IN THE EARTH (publ.2005) my rating 4.6
THE DARKNESS AND THE DEEP (publ.2006) my rating 4.6

DI Marjory Fleming series (from Fantastic Fiction)
1. Cold in the Earth (2005)
2. The Darkness and the Deep (2006)
3. Lying Dead (2007)
4. Lamb to the Slaughter (2008)
5. Dead in the Water (2009)
6. Cradle to Grave (2011)


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Thanks for highlighting this series. A fine review, and you've given me a very necessary kick in the pants to read the series.

Maxine Clarke said...

Nice review, Kerrie. I like this series too, though I think the most recent one had lost its edge a bit (recycling some old themes). But still very solid and enjoyable.

Androwson said...



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