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July Crime Questions 6 10 nominees for the Second There’s Been a Murder Crime Blog Book of The Year

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6. THE GOOD PRIEST – GILLIAN GALBRAITH

In the house of a Roman Catholic bishop a man lies in a pool of blood. Out in the bishop’s diocese the quiet life of parish priest Father Vincent Ross is about to be thrown into turmoil by a terrifying revelation. There are ugly scandals being hidden by the church he has served for so long, and a murderer is on the prowl. The police and the authorities are groping in the dark, but Father Ross has been given special information that he cannot disclose to anyone. It gradually dawns on him that he and he alone can unravel the mystery and bring the nightmare of violence to an end. He must put his personal safety, his reputation and finally his life on the line.

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7. THE VISITORS – SIMON SYLVESTER

The island has always seemed such a safe place, such a friendly community. Now the possibility of a killer on Bancree is dangerously close to home.

Nobody moves to the remote Scottish island of Bancree, and few leave – but leaving is exactly what seventeen-year-old Flora intends to do. So when a mysterious man and his daughter move into isolated Dog Cottage, Flo is curious. What could have brought these strangers to the island? The man is seductively handsome but radiates menace; and there’s something about his daughter Ailsa that Flo can’t help but feel drawn towards.

People aren’t only arriving on Bancree – they are disappearing too. Reports of missing islanders fill the press and unnerve the community. When a body washes ashore, suspicion turns to the strange newcomers on Dog Rock.

Convinced of their innocence, Flo is fiercely determined to protect her friend Ailsa. Could the answer to the disappearances, and to the pull of her own heart, lie out there, beyond the waves?

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8. THE DEATH GAME – CHRIS LONGMUIR

In 1919, the horrors of the Great War are over.

Kirsty Campbell, former suffragette and a policewoman in Britain’s newly formed women’s police service, returns to her home town of Dundee to become the city’s first policewoman.

But what horrors will Kirsty, a young policewoman with her own demons to fight, have to face in Dundee? And how will she cope when the sins of the past come back to haunt her?

A deadly game of sacrifice and death.

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9. THROWAWAYS – JENNY THOMSON

Huddled in a doorway, in a blonde wig and my best Pretty Woman outfit, I’m already soaked to the skin. Any minute now, a car will pull up and the occupant will ask me how much I charge for sex. As downward spirals go, this is bad. But I’m not here because I’m reduced to turning tricks for a living. I’m here to catch a killer… Throwaways – that’s the word they’re using for the Glasgow sex workers who’ve gone missing. But two people do care and Nancy Kerr and Tommy McIntyre won’t stop until they discover the truth; even if it gets them killed.

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10. SEVEN EIGHT PLAY IT STRAIGHT – EJ LAMPREY

The Edinburgh Festival, dazzling hectic backdrop for another murder

In Seven Eight Play It Straight Edge’s actress stepdaughter is performing in a successful Fringe show during the Edinburgh Festival. Long-standing hostilities are set aside when a violent and bloody murder strikes all too close to home, but the temporary truce doesn’t last after Fiona accuses Edge of the murder.

This is unlike the other books in the series in a few ways. Like all the others, it is a stand-alone book, they don’t have to be read in sequence. If you are a series regular, there’s still murder, and it is still a whodunit, and the friends are very much in evidence, but it is Edge and her stepdaughter, the actress Fiona Bentwood, who take centre stage. The title, instead of being Lay Them Straight as in the nursery rhyme, is Play It Straight; there are scene breaks rather than conventional chapters. There’s even fancy dress, performing artists, melodrama, totally contrived coincidences and theatrical makeup in the climax, but how not, during the fabulous Edinburgh Festival?

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