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Trick of the Dark Hardcover – September 6, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bywater Books; First Edition edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781932859959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932859959
  • ASIN: 1932859950
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,639,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wonderfully compelling stuff." The Daily Mail "...a brutally clever story." The Mirror" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Val McDermid: Val McDermid has published 24 novels. An international bestseller, her books have been translated into almost 30 languages. She has won more than a dozen major awards. In 2010 she won the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for outstanding achievement in the field of mysteries.

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Customer Reviews

A slow read with a little too much detail for a too small story.
melody
I think it is a major achievement and a demonstration of skill to have a protagonist who is slightly disturbing, as I found this one to be.
Bett Norris
If this is your first try at this author, forget it and go find another of her books to give a sample of what she really can do.
Lynne McCoy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Bett Norris on March 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I love McDermid's work, the entire body of work, that is. There's the Kate Brannigan series, the great Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, the Lindsay Gordon series, and if you haven't yet read them you should. There are some wonderful stand-alones like The Grave Tattoo.

And there's this newest one, A Trick of the Dark. For some reason, this novel harked back to the old crime novels of Josephine Tey and Dorothy L. Sayers for me, and I can't decide quite why that is. Maybe the academic setting? Maybe the use of red herrings?

What I really greatly enjoyed about this novel was the ambiguous nature of each of the characters in it. No one comes off the hero, most are closer to being the goat. I think it is a major achievement and a demonstration of skill to have a protagonist who is slightly disturbing, as I found this one to be.

It is hardly a great lesson that no one is either all good or all bad, but it is certainly rare in fiction to find characters so precarioulsy balanced between good and evil. Unsettling in a murder mystery, when one expects a heroic crime solver and a black-as-night villain.

I thoroughly appreciated the urge to get out the tweeds and sturdy walking shoes for a spot of detection.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mark Fleischmann on December 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book deserves way more than the (current) average of 2.5 stars. While readers might reasonably disagree about whether any book is any author's best work, the fact that two different one-star reviews employ the term "lesbian agenda" indicates how much of the negative reaction is based on sexual prejudice. Yes, this book has several lesbian characters. If that's a problem for you, don't read it. But don't come into this forum and vent your personal hatred on the author or on other readers. For my own part, as someone who's read all of McDermid's previous work, I find this book up to her usual standard. In fact, it's stronger than any installment in the Lindsay Gordon series, indicating that the author has become more adept at writing compellingly about characters whose life experience is similar to her own. A very fine book, glad I read it and decided for myself.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Feit VINE VOICE on August 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As the book opens, Dr. Charlotte ["Charlie"] Flint finds her professional life as a forensic psychiatrist in tatters, her reputation destroyed, and awaiting a hearing by the General Medical Council to decide whether or not she can be reinstated as an expert in her field.

Magdalene ["Magda"] Newsam, a pediatric oncologist, is a 28-year-old woman whose husband was killed on their wedding night, attending the trial of her husband's partners for his murder. One of the two hubs of this book is Magda's mother, Corinna Newsam, who was Charlie's tutor while an undergraduate at St. Scholastika's College, Oxford University, which is the other point around which all else revolves. Each of the characters' ties to Corinna and Oxford have shaped their lives to this point. As is the case also with Jay Stewart, wildly successful businesswoman in the throes of writing her second memoir following her first bestseller, the point of view throughout the book variously that of the three younger women.

Corinna asks Charlie to investigate whether, as she suspects, Jay Stewart had something to do with her son-in-law's death, mostly due to the fact that Jay is now romantically involved with Magda. Seeking redemption, Charlie agrees. As the solution drew near, the feeling that I knew what lay ahead didn't diminish the suspense or the intricacy of the plot. And, of course, I was completely wrong in my expectations.

Few of the characters in the book are male; few of the romantic relationships/entanglements are heterosexual, a fact noteworthy only in the prejudices thereby aroused in others which are essential to the plot. The novel, though somewhat lengthy, is an absorbing and worthy addition to Ms. McDermid's past novels, and is recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary D. Allitt on September 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
Did Val MacDermid really write this or did she let some beginner use her name. So not up to her usual style. The dialogue was awful and her characters just caricatures. Makes me rethink whether I'll continue to read her.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Autumn on January 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read the reviews on Amazon U.S. and Amazon UK before checking this book out of the library, and from the reviews, I wasn't expecting much. Most of them said how terribly disappointing the book is.

However, I really, really liked it. Some readers complain that Val is promoting a "lesbian agenda." Do we say a heterosexual agenda is being promoted by all the novels and movies that feature heterosexual couples? No, because what passes as normal we don't even notice. There are also reviewers who wanted more heterosexual and male characters. But as a lesbian, I am exposed to plenty of media that features heterosexual couples and males as leads. For once, I was glad to read a book that did not focus on heterosexual romance.

This book really drew me in, and I found I could not put it down. However, the ending greatly disappointed me. It seemed completely unrealistic. Val sometimes tries to promote a political message in her novels, and I'm not quite sure what it is in Trick of the Dark. Also, the girlfriend of the main character isn't well-developed at all. This bugged me throughout the novel.

I do recommend this book, especially to readers who do not usually see themselves reflected in novels (e.g. lesbians). However, some of McDermid's previous books are much stronger.
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