Val McDermid – "The Grave Tattoo"

12 Feb

GENRE: Mystery
PUBLISHED: Harper, 2007

The back blurb:
“It’s summer in the Lake District and heavy rain over the fells has uncovered a bizzarely tattooed body. Could it be linked to the old rumour that Fletcher Christian, mutinous first mate on the Bounty, had secretly returned to England?
Scholar Jane Gresham wants to find out. She believes that the Lakeland poet William Wordsworth, a friend of Christian’s, may have sheltered the fugitive and turned his tale into an epic poem – which has since disappeared. But as she follows each lead, death is hard on her heels. The centuries-old mystery is putting lives at risk. And it isn’t just the truth that is waiting to be discovered, but a bounty worth millions …”

It took me over a week to read this novel. It was easy to put down and there was nothing that urged me to pick it up again except that I have this thing about finishing books. While reading it, I had my couple of eye-rolling and snorting moments. That’s mostly because you can see things coming from a mile away and because (some) characters are doing things for plot reasons not character reasons (a young girl especially, IMO).

The novel is off to a slow start. It’s in chapter 14 (page 158) that Jane starts to look through the Wordsworth archive for more clues. I thought this a bit late considering that I got this novel because it seemed to be an academic mystery (think A. S. Byatt’s Possession). My fault, there is not much of this here.

So, I dunno. Considering that I’m not much into the crime stuff, I can’t compare it to a lot of other novels. I only can say, a romance with this kind of “problems” would make me think about a grade 2 / 5. But this? There’s nothing overtly wrong with this novel. It might very well be that this is a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”. So, I dunno.

Would I recommend this novel? Very probably not.

Would I read this novel again? No.

Grade:3 / 5


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