The Skelf women live in the shadow of death every day, running the family funeral directors and private investigator business in Edinburgh. But now their own grief interwines with that of their clients, as they are left reeling by shocking past events. A fist-fight by an open grave leads Dorothy to investigate the possibility of a faked death, while a young woman’s obsession with Hannah threatens her relationship with Indy and puts them both in mortal danger. An elderly man claims he’s being abused by the ghost of his late wife, while ghosts of another kind come back to haunt Jenny from the grave … pushing her to breaking point. As the Skelfs struggle with increasingly unnerving cases and chilling danger lurks close to home, it becomes clear that grief, in all its forms, can be deadly…
Doug Johnstone is the author of twelve novels, most recently The Great Silence, described as ‘A novel [that] underlines just how accomplished Johnstone has become’ by the Daily Mail. He has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year three times, and the Capital Crime Best Independent Voice one; The Big Chill was longlisted for Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions, and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.
My thoughts: I’m very much #TeamSkelf so I loved this fourth outing for the intrepid women of Skelf Funerals and Private Investigations – even if the second half of that business seems to run on Dorothy’s altruism and not money.
There’s several cases on the board this time, and Jenny’s starting to crack up too, especially after a body, that might be scumbag ex-husband Craig, washes up.
Hannah’s got a stalker, Dorothy’s helping two very different men deal with their grief, Indy’s keeping the paying business going and Schrodinger the cat’s just, well, being a cat. It never slows down in Skelf-land!
Tremendous fun as always, I raced through it, laughing all the way. Now I have to wait for the next one (please be a next one).
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own