Broken Ground – Val McDermid

A YOUNG woman heads for the Scottish Highlands in search of two motorbikes bequeathed to her by her grandfather.

The soldier was based at a spy training camp during the Second World War and ‘liberated’ the brand-new bikes when he left the army, by burying them in a peat bog.

What the woman finds is not only the bikes: there is a well-preserved body alongside, from an era long after the war finished.

Enter Karen Pirie from the Edinburgh cold-case squad, whose investigations into the murder have dangerous repercussions in the modern world.

Pirie has featured in several previous McDermid novels and she is becoming a character who, although very different to McDermid’s long-time heroes Tony Hill and Carol Jordan, is just as memorable.

A no-nonsense, uncompromising officer who delights in antagonising her superiors, Pirie may have met her match in a new commanding officer who is determined to kick her out of the police.

This latest case could provide the excuse, when Pirie exposes herself to both political and media interference.

Broken Ground is, as with all McDermid’s novels, very readable, dragging the reader along as it becomes ever more complex.

David Knights