The Grave Tattoo

My review of Val McDermid’s The Grave Tattoo was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday, 7 February.

From the review:

"A little-known fact about Fletcher Christian, leader of the mutiny on the Bounty, was that he was born on a farm in Cumbria, in the English Lake District, in 1764, six years before William Wordsworth, whom he probably knew.

Val McDermid’s latest novel is an inventive historical mystery taking off from these bare facts. The trigger is the discovery of a body in a Lakeland fell, a body well over 100 years old and covered with tattoos in what turn out to be all the right places. Capt. William Bligh had described Christian thus: "5 ft. 9 in. High. Dark Swarthy Complexion. Hair – Blackish or very dark brown. Make – Strong. A Star tatowed [sic] on his left Breast, and tatowed on the backside."  "

Read on at the link, or if the free access period is over and you want to read the review, let me know in the comments.

4 thoughts on “The Grave Tattoo

  1. What an interesting review, Maxine.
    I have avoided Val McDermid’s books in the past because reviewers mentioned the extreme violence. There was some discussion on one blog between her and Ian Rankin, regarding the portrayal of violence against women, but perhaps you have discovered the gentler nicer side of Ms McDermid.

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Norm/Uriah, much appreciated. I think I recall that discussion, now you point it out. I definitely think Val McD is moving into a new market for her. Her previous series and books have featured lesbians, serial killers, gruesome psychological thrillers, etc. This latest one is really very mild: I was slightly trepidatious before I started reading it after the last one of hers I read, but I need not have worried.

  3. Maxine — Good review and sounds like a fun read. I love historical mysteries and, again, I wanna go to the Lake District!

  4. Facts, in the right hands, can be romantic, or at least deeply thrilling. Read Richard Powers, for example.

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