JAMES NAUGHTIE, BBC Radio 4
When the door opened and he came out, there came with him the stench of a dead thing, the sweet, sulphurous, warm, rotten chicken smell that only ever comes from unburied flesh.
A dead body is found in a locked house. It has been stabbed in a frenzy, the hands and feet bound, the skull smashed, false teeth knocked from its jaws. Blood pools around the corpse and drips from the staircase. Yet nothing is missing: money and valuables remain untouched. Who could have murdered an old woman in such a horrifying way? And why?
This is the mystery facing Sergeant John Fraser and Detective Lieutenant Trench when wealthy spinster Miss Jean Milne is murdered in the quiet seaside town of Broughty Ferry. Yet, despite an abundance of clues and apparent witnesses, the investigation proves troublesome: suspects are elusive and Miss Milne herself is found to be far from a model of propriety. And when sensational headlines put pressure on the police force to find a culprit, Fraser and Trench must work fast to prevent the wrong man from going to the gallows. But will they ever unravel the secret life and curious death of Miss Jean Milne?
"Nicoll takes a true story and builds it into a twisting piece of prose with an unexpected shift towards the end."
DAILY EXPRESS (****, Summer's Most Addictive Crime Fiction)
"The sense of setting and era are spot on, and the dusky streets of Scotland are suitably spooky."
"A superb read, the sort of book that keeps you compulsively turning pages."
"Nicoll offers a plausible, if shocking, solution to the crime at the end...in the style of the best Agatha Christie. The writing of a Christie-esque novel in the 21st century, however, requires a fresh and lively narrative, coupled with a wry and critical humour, to make it feel compellingly modern enough. Nicoll achieves that and more by bringing us, sometimes uncomfortably so, closer to our sins of the past."
"An intelligent crime novel with secrets, passion and great characters - just a great murder mystery."
PORTOBELLO BOOK BLOG
"A triumph of tone, very moving, completely convincing."
ANDREW MARR on The Good Mayor
"An exuberant, whirlwind read, with a glint of steel beneath the frothy plot."
THE GUARDIAN on The Good Mayor
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