In Broken Ground, Val McDermid returns to one of my favourite characters of hers, detective chief inspector Karen Pirie, of the Historic Cases Unit ... The DCI – 'a dumpy wee woman with bad hair and terrible dress sense' who can pull out 'the kind of smile that makes small children whimper and cling to their mother’s legs' – is as intuitive, courageous and grumpy as ever, and McDermid’s plotting is top-notch. There is nothing more gratifying than watching a master craftswoman at work, and she is on fine form here.
The heroine of Val McDermid’s new novel is a wee bit of a crank ... Jessica Fletcher of Cabot Cove, Pirie isn’t ... It’s time that mystery writers noticed Europe’s newest arrivals [the Syrian refugees], whose lives are filled with a degree of suspense none of them ever wanted or deserved. Almost in passing, Broken Ground is revelatory in that regard.
Val McDermid’s Broken Ground opens in 1944 with a couple of men burying something in an isolated area of the Highlands...when the granddaughter of one of the men turns up, clutching a map left behind when he died, she finds something buried far more recently ... McDermid’s novels about cold cases have solid plots and fascinating forensic detail.