It's April 2020 and Edinburgh is in lockdown. It would seem like a strange time for a cold case to go hot-the streets all but empty, an hour's outdoor exercise the maximum allowed-but a mere pandemic doesn't mean crime takes a holiday. When a source at the National Library contacts DCI Karen Pirie's team about documents in the archive of a recently deceased crime novelist, it seems it's game on again. At the center of it, a novel: two crime novelists facing off over a chessboard. But it quickly emerges that their real-life competition is drawing blood. What unspools is a twisted game of betrayal and revenge, and as Karen and her team attempt to disentangle fact from fiction, it becomes clear that this case is more complicated than they ever imagined.
While the author’s style drives the story with excellent pacing, she takes the time to insert some arch characterizations ... McDermid’s novel is a generously sized, big book with an entertaining puzzle within a puzzle and a great tongue-in-cheek attitude.
Pirie is a probing, astute detective with a heart of gold and a taste for justice, even when she doesn’t get the support she needs from her superiors. Meanwhile, her relationship with Hamish is also on the line, so Pirie has plenty to ponder despite the world being seemingly on hold. Past Lying is another finely plotted Karen Pirie page turner that will leave readers wanting more.