McDermid...weaves her plots spendidly. Here she manages to keep one’s interest in both investigations. She juggles them beautifully, and you don’t find yourself wishing she would leave one case and get back to the other. She is also expert at modulating the pace of her narrative. She knows that in a long novel there is a need for quiet patches when the tension is relaxed and her readers, like her characters, can pause to re-charge their batteries ... We read crime fiction for enjoyment, comfort and reassurance. McDermid provides all this. She is a writer with a clear sense of right and wrong. In tune with contemporary life, she remains also a moralist. Still Life shows that she is still at the height of her powers; it is deeply enjoyable, one of her best.
In her acknowledgements, McDermid notes her experience of writing in the 'strange half-world of lockdown,' finding sustained concentration difficult, but she has nonetheless managed to keep her detective right on target and the reader enthralled.