Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Mermaid Singing by Val McDermid

The Mermaid Singing (original 1999; edition 1999)

by Val McDermid, Graham Roberts (Narrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,297456,042 (3.8)72
Title:The Mermaid Singing
Authors:Val McDermid
Other authors:Graham Roberts (Narrator)
Info:ISIS Audio Books (1999), Audio CD
Collections:Fiction, Your library
Tags:suspense, policier, meurtres en série, série Carol Jordan & Toni Hill, doublon

Work details

The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid (1999)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 72 mentions

English (39)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
The Mermaids Singing is the first in Val McDermid’s Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series. It is a taught, well-written psychological thriller, which was actually turned into an excellent British crime drama in 2002. I highly recommend McDermid’s series to fans of exceptional crime fiction. ( )
  knittingmomof3 | Jun 19, 2016 |
The Mermaids Singing
3.5 Stars

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...


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 | Jun 1, 2016 |
I suspect McDermid has been influenced by Thomas Harris but she reworks the formula and avoids making her serial killer into a 'bogey man' like Hannibal Lecter. Lecter is a force and not a real being. The killer in Mermaids is a real person and the novel is scarier as a result. An enormously enjoyable read as a clinical psychologist Tony Hill - who has his own problems - matches wits with a very sick and intelligent killer. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
I don't like books whose titles have no discernible connection to the book. Why? Because I cannot believe it! And that leaves me to think I missed some key piece.

I bought this book because of McDermid's book, _Forensics_. I read reviews about _Mermais_ on Amazon, so I was not shocked at the graphic descriptions. It reminded me of reading _The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich_...the juvenile feeling of titillation reading of the Nazi experiments that happened in the camps. Or, more to the point, reading graphic descriptions of the bizarre Christian (Christian?) Inquisition. Only we don't call it that. We distance ourselves from it by calling it the "Spanish Inquisition."

Oh well, I thought I had found a new series to read. This is the first in the Tony Hill, Carol Jordon series. ( )
  kaulsu | Jan 30, 2016 |
After finishing Mapp and Lucia a while back, I felt in need of murder and mayhem. I can't say I've ever felt that before; I don't remember ever hating one book's characters enough to want to go read graphic descriptions of a serial killer's work. Although the demographic being murdered in The Mermaids Singing was completely different from that I had a wished death on in M&L, it still hit the spot.

That sounds a bit twisted, doesn't it…

It hit the spot surprisingly well, in fact. Maybe I've watched too much "Criminal Minds" and "Walking Dead" and so on over the years (and Wire in the Blood); maybe I've become jaded. Because this was beyond all doubt graphic. I usually do avoid this subsection of the genre, but back when Netflix still included streaming video with all subscriptions I stumbled on and became a huge fan of "The Wire in the Blood", and being as this is what that was based on, I wanted more of Tony Hill and Carol Jordan.

And that's exactly what I got. As it turns out, the first episode of the TV series was a remarkably faithful adaptation of this first book. Happily, I saw it long enough ago that details had faded, and my memory is bad enough that the end wasn't spoiled.

This isn't one of the sporting class of murder mysteries, where the clues are planted throughout the story for the clever and attentive reader to pick up and put together. This is pure procedural, with the coppers both dreading and hoping for the next victim of the serial killer on the loose: dreading, for obvious reasons, and anticipating in hopes that with a new body will come more data toward finding the killer. Intercut with the personal and professional lives of Tony Hill and Carol Jordan and their colleagues are journal entries from the killer, shadowing the timeline without giving away any real detail about the killer except how contact was made with the victims.

But it all really comes down to those two, Tony Hill and Carol Jordan. They're terrific characters. I don't know that I'm quite jaded enough to pursue the book series - but it's good to know it's out there. ( )
  Stewartry | Jan 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Val McDermidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cumming, AlanReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Do not combine with the video TV series; different works.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


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 9 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
60 avail.
32 wanted
9 pay7 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.8)
0.5 1
1 4
1.5 1
2 13
2.5 5
3 71
3.5 33
4 126
4.5 13
5 65


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 106,897,358 books! | Top bar: Always visible