The Hangman’s Song by James Oswald

 The Hangman’s Song cover

The Hangman’s Song by James Oswald is the third book in his Inspector McLean series.

Edinburgh’s police headquarters is in chaos as the ongoing restructuring of Scotland’s police forces has meant that Chief Inspector Duguid – or Dagwood as he is sometimes known as is the temporary boss. McLean has a very low opinion of Duguid and the feeling is mutual. Duguid is piling lots of extra work onto McLean and at the same time is removing officers from his cases, sending them on needless training courses at Tulliallan police college.

However when a series of hangings take place in the city there are enough odd details to make McLean feel that they are anything but the straightforward suicides that Duguid insists they are.

McLean is having as much trouble with his work colleagues as he is with the investigation, jealousy is leading some of the more immature in the force to play stupid but expensive pranks on the financially independent McLean and at times he does wonder himself why he is bothering to remain in the police force. Luckily for us he realises that that would be giving in and doing just what his colleagues want.

I’m really enjoying this series which should be read in order but I agree with Jack that it could do without the spooky elements which really don’t add anything.

If you want to read what Jack thought about this book, have a look here.

I read this one for the Read Scotland 2016 Challenge.

Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie / and William McIlvanney

I went straight from reading Blyton’s Famous Five books to Agatha Christie and it is decades and decades since I read any of her mysteries (apart from a slim volume called Black Coffee which was originally a play and was worked up into a book by Charles Osborne.)

I’ve seen quite a few people have been reading Christie so when I saw this one in my library I thought I would give it a go and see if I still found her work to be enjoyable. It was quite a surprise to me that I did enjoy this one as I had read a few snidey newspaper articles, basically saying her books were only for those of little intelligence and even smaller vocabulary. I had seen a version of this book dramatised for TV but I think it was quite different from the book. You’ve probably seen it too but the book is still worth reading. It’s a Poirot and Hastings book, the tale being told by Hastings and of course Inspector Japp pops up too, but his character is somewhat less chummy and amusing than the Japp of TV fame.

I thought that crime fiction fans might be interested to read the William McIlvanney article which appeared in today’s Guardian. I loved his books when they were first published in the 1970s. He managed to capture the atmosphere of Glasgow in print, which is more than can be said of Denise Mina whose books are set in Glasgow but are completely devoid of any Glaswegian class, gallusness and banter, something which I find unforgivable as a Glaswegian myself. McIlvanney is apparently the forgotten man of Tartan Noir, what a shame. He inspired Ian Rankin to write his Rebus series, transferring the setting to Edinburgh, the city which he has experience of.