None But The Dead: Lin Anderson
I thought the previous Rhona MacLeod novel was the best but Lin Anderson has come up with another absolutely superb, tense and atmospheric novel.
Set on the island of Sanday, one of the Orkney Islands, its sheer remoteness serves to heighten the tension throughout. The islanders have their own traditions and superstitions which are very cleverly woven into the plot.
An incomer to the island, Mike Jones is renovating his cottage and in the loft he discovers thirteen intricately tied muslin flowers. He takes one to the curator at the local Heritage Centre who advises him it is a ‘magic flower’ which represents a child’s soul and to put it back.
A local man working for Mike is clearing the land behind the cottage and unearths a skull. Mike reluctantly reports his find to the police in Kirkwall. D.I. Erling Flett asks Rhona to check on the bones.
Meanwhile in Glasgow the body of an elderly man is found in his flat in rather suspicious circumstances. Rhona and Chrissy travel to Sanday to excavate the bones but are bewildered to find that the skull has vanished preventing identification of the remains. They also come to realise that the body in Glasgow has links to Sanday adding to the mystery.
Another two deaths occur and a child goes missing. The tension is almost unbearable. The islanders down the years have protected their own and are used to keeping secrets which doesn’t help the investigation.
I could hardly put this book down as the twists and turns in the plot had me gripped from the beginning. Danger is ever present and there are even hints of the Wicker Man! I love the way the characters have developed over time and enjoy their interactions. Is there a bit of a cliffhanger? Highly recommended. If you love crime thrillers this book is for you!