Trick of the Dark

Trick of the Dark. by Val McDermid - Val McDermid

"My mother disappeared when I was sixteen. It was the best thing that could have happened to me.

When I say that out loud, people look at me out if the corners of their eyes, as if I've transgressed some fundamental taboo. But it's the truth. I'm not hiding some complicated grief reaction.

My mother disappeared when I was sixteen. The guards had walked away from the prison leaving the door unlocked. And I emerged blinking into the sunlight."


I wanted to keep this book for a while and read it when I needed a solid mystery to delve in and occupy my mind for a spell - when I needed something dependable.

But just looking at the fabulous cover of the paperback edition made me twitch. 


This is only my fourth McDermid - I am quickly becoming a fan - and a short way into the story of disgraced psychiatrist Charlie Flint I got the impression that this book is different. Just a short way into this book I began to wonder if McDermid had an agenda which she wanted the characters in the book to play out.


Trick of the Dark is centred on a mothers suspicion that her daughter is being seduced by a woman of dubious character - or rather one with a dubious past. There is no police work, no obvious crime, but one "obvious" suspect.


Strangely enough, the story and the character had soon drawn me in and it took no time at all to want to figure out the mystery surrounding the main suspect. As mentioned, there is little in the way of procedural policing. Most of the book is based on good old sleuthing and psychology, or as I would call it "following a hunch" but I really liked it. 

There is also some humor in this, and I hope some of the giggles I got reflect some of McDermott's own sense of fun. 


The only criticism - and, having read some of the scathing reviews this book received, this is only a slight criticism - is that the dialogues were too stilted to be believable. Yes, the conversations between the characters carried most of the story, but some of the conversations, even hard ones to have, were way too polished.