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The Mermaid Singing by Val McDermid
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The Mermaid Singing (original 1999; edition 1999)

by Val McDermid, Graham Roberts (Narrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,339495,788 (3.78)80
Member:bergg
Title:The Mermaid Singing
Authors:Val McDermid
Other authors:Graham Roberts (Narrator)
Info:ISIS Audio Books (1999), Audio CD
Collections:Fiction, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:suspense, policier, meurtres en série, série Carol Jordan & Toni Hill, doublon

Work details

The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid (1999)

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English (43)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All (49)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
The Mermaids Singing
3.5 Stars

Synopsis
After the mutilated bodies of 4 men are discovered in Bradfield, the police are finally forced to admit that a serial killer is on the loose, and enlist the help of criminal psychologist Tony Hill. Haunted by demons of his own, Tony works with DI Carol Jordon to profile a killer who has just made Tony the latest target...

Review

Disclaimer: This book is the first in a series which forms the basis for the BBC show Wire in the Blood. As a fan of the series, I was glad to see that the producers did an excellent job in re-creating 90% of McDermid's characters and plot. However, my overall reading experience may have been influenced by the fact that I knew all the twists and turns ahead of time.

That said, the plot of The Mermaids Singing is clever and well written. The events are told from multiple perspectives - Tony, Carol as well as the killer and others. Each of the characters, both primary and secondary, are intriguing and well-developed, and the revelation of the killer's identity and motivation is original and interesting. It is important to note that the book contains graphic descriptions of torture and mutilation so it is not for those who are turned off by blood and gore.

Personally, the only scene that had me almost jettisoning the book is the near torture of the German Shepherd, as I have absolutely no tolerance for animal abuse. Thankfully, the act itself does not occur so I could move forward (very pleased this was taken out of the show).

Tony is a compelling character, damaged and tortured in his own way, and trying to cope with his inner demons. He comes across as more eccentric in the series than in the book, an interpretation that I prefer. Carol is also a likeable character coping with the inevitable boys club in the police.

While the book is entertaining, I won't be continuing with the series as I've seen the TV show, and I know what is to come. Reading the book does make me want to watch the show again though. ( )
  Lauren2013 | Nov 19, 2016 |
I came to this one after reading the most recent book in the series, and I was disappointed. It was a slog, and frankly, overly creepy, which I suppose was to make it more popular. The author really seemed to be finding her way with this one. I found it repetitive, and was disappointed the book seemed to go out of its way to make the two main characters odd and unsympathetic, and their relationship the same. I didn't buy the setup where Jordan was supposed to be so instantly attracted to Hill, nor his impotence, nor really any of that early relationship.

It's interesting to me that the series gets so much better later when she grows more comfortable with her characters, and can speak about them almost in shorthand. For a book that's supposed to revolve around a police-profiler relationship, the author seems unsure how to write about human relationships. I would advise skipping this one, and instead reading her later work, which is so much better. ( )
  Laura400 | Oct 10, 2016 |
This is again a book I like.
Quite a common plot serial killer at large, police do not acknowledge that it's a serial killer. They do not want to work with a profiler.

Nevertheless this still was in interesting read, not in the least because of the in-between text where the murderer was giving his thoughts on the actions, although it was after the fact.

Interesting to learn if there are more thrillers with Tony Hill as one of the main characters. And if there are,to follow Carol Jordan and him in the development of their (working?) relationship. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Oct 5, 2016 |
Meh. Written in 1995, this actually reads dated. Also, there is a lot of explaining things - mostly Hill explaining to Jordan - which read a bit like a lecture. Not a fan of the gory / torture parts, and it did not help that the book starts with some pretty gruesome descriptions. ( )
1 vote BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
4.25 Stars ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Jun 20, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Val McDermidprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cumming, AlanReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

T.S. Eliot
The soul of torture is male.

Comment on exhibit card

The Museum of Criminology and Torture, San Gimignano, Italy.
Dedication
For Tookie Flystock, my beloved serial insect killer.
First words
From 3 1/2" disc labelled: Backup.007; file Love.001

You always remember the first time.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Do not combine with the video TV series; different works.
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Book description
You always remember the first time. Isn't that what they say about sex? How much more true it is of murder! Up till now, the only serial killers Tony Hill had encountered were safely behind bars. This one's different -- this one's on the loose. In the northern town of Bradfield four men have been found mutilated and tortured. Fear grips the city; no man feels safe. Clinical psychologist Tony Hill is brought in to profile the killer. A man with more than enough sexual problems of his own, Tony himself becomes the unsuspecting target in a battle of wits and wills where he has to use every ounce of his professional nerve to survive.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312983603, Mass Market Paperback)

This sadistic, twisted yet intriguingly ingenious thriller garnered Val McDermid Britain's top crime-fiction award, the Gold Dagger, which only proves it's not as genteel a nation as we've been led to believe. The Mermaids Singing follows a killer who thrives on finding ever more inventive ways to seduce and torture sexually confused young men and records their death struggles digitally to market them as interactive home movies.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

When the fourth victim of a twisted serial killer is found, Detective Inspector Carol Jordan teams up with criminologist Tony Hill to develop a complicated criminal profile, the accuracy of which becomes pivotal to the case.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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