This is the first book by Catherine Aird which I have read and it was first published in 2007. I don’t read an awful lot of contemporary crime novels, I really prefer vintage crime but strangely this book had a very old-fashioned feel about it, although it’s only six years old.
Since it was written the economic world has gone into meltdown so the whole premise of the book is unrealistic now. Tolmie Park is a large house and estate, in semi-derelict condition, but it was where Jason Burke had played as a child and since then he had always wanted to own the place. Burke is better known as a pop star with the unlikely name of Kevin Cowlick.
Two building companies are also after the estate, hoping to snap the land up for housing and make huge profits. When fire breaks out in the house the police have plenty of suspects, and the discovery of bones in the wreckage adds to their problems. A local pressure group is also involved in trying to stop the house from being demolished.
At the same time as all this was happening a portrait including a depiction of the house was stolen from a local museum. What links the crimes?
Obviously building firms have been going bankrupt and generally having a tough time of things since 2008 and the collapse of the banks and property, so it was strange to be reading about a situation which wouldn’t arise nowadays, but that’s fair enough. The thing which I really didn’t like was the name Kevin Cowlick it just grated on my ears and an editor should have told Catherine Aird that in 2007 pop stars didn’t go in for daft names, in fact that was never going to be a good name for anyone, but editors don’t seem to exist now. I put that name down to the fact that Aird was born in 1930 so is far removed from pop stars and their ways.
Otherwise I quite enjoyed the book, all the way through it I was thinking I would give it about 3 out of 5 but it deserves a bit more because the ending was a bit of a surprise, always a good thing.