Monday, June 29, 2015

The Skeleton Road, by Val McDermid

I continue to read more mysteries than are good for me, but I don't generally write them on for this blog because there's just so little to say about them. However, I thought I would at least mention this new title from Val McDermid because it is not only a double mystery (who killed the person whose skeleton was found on the roof of an abandoned building in Edinburgh and who is the vigilante killing Balkan war criminals?), it is also a bit of a history lesson about the wars in the Balkans in the 1990s. Although I was, of course, a full-fledged newspaper-reading adult in the 90s, it's surprising how little I knew about the conflicts--The Skeleton Road does begin to fill in some gaps and makes me want to learn more. The book has a complex structure with three main perspectives--that of the police woman Karen Pirie, a bungling lawyer detailed to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and scholar Maggie Blake, who lived in Dubrovnik during the siege and was the lover of a prominent Croatian general. In addition, excerpts from a memoir Maggie has started writing are also interspersed throughout, adding more information about the war.

The Skeleton Road is not the greatest mystery, but it's relatively entertaining while being educational as well. Readers should be warned that the ending is as dark as one might expect in a mystery about war and war criminals.

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