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The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid
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The Grave Tattoo (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Val McDermid

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8332910,829 (3.41)55
Member:albanemaelle
Title:The Grave Tattoo
Authors:Val McDermid
Info:Harper & Brothers Publishers (2007), Paperback, 560 pages
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The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid (2006)

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Engaging but not memorable. One identifies with the main female characters but the crime plot and the literary plot are not too fascinating. Sometimes it gets a bit repetitive and too landscapy. Nice read for a bleak evening but not a book to keep on the bookshelves. ( )
  pepe68 | Jan 28, 2014 |
Transferred from my spreadsheet to Goodreads
  sally906 | Apr 3, 2013 |
This is a different sort of story and for most of it it was less a crime story, that I was expecting, then a mystery treasure hunt story. There were parts of this I didn't like and it's hard to explain why, it just didn't grab me. Though the ending did get a bit better, more exciting and intense after a long drawn out hunt. ( )
  Balthazar-Lawson | Mar 29, 2013 |
Val McDermid once again delivers perfectly on a fantastic piece of stand-alone crime literature, and The Grave Tattoo is an intelligently written, gripping piece of writing, that takes the reader from the rough back streets of London, to the rolling hills of the Lake District.

At the centre of it all is Jane Gresham, a Wordsworth scholar, who, in hearing about a mysterious ancient body that has washed up during a flood, finds herself pursuing a theory she has long had, that Fletcher Christian, master’s mate on board the Bounty, didn’t die, but instead returned to the UK secretly. Believing that the body might be his, Jane begins investigating the possibility that Fletcher entrusted his return in William Wordsworth (his contemporary), and that secret documentation about this, written by Wordsworth, might have been passed down through generations. However, in the process of her pursuit, she finds herself running from an ex-boyfriend out to cause trouble, helping out a teenage girl who becomes embroiled in a series of unfortunate circumstances, and trying to work out why people around her keep on mysteriously dying.

As ever, McDermid is faultless in delivering spectacularly on suspense, character depiction and also stirring interest in areas that other contemporaries wouldn’t touch with a bargepole. Taking a historical myth and working it into a piece of contemporary fiction is not anything most authors would do lightly, but she does it with ease and intellect, demonstrating all too easily why she’s the reigning queen of crime fiction. ( )
  kezumi | Nov 8, 2012 |
A body with tattoos has been found in a lakes district bog. Could it be Fletcher Christian, notorious mutineer on The Bounty, who may have sneaked back home to family and told his story to his old school chum, Wordsworth? And did Wordsworth write a poem about Christian's experiences that was never published, which might still exist? Scholar Jan Gresham thinks so. And maybe some of the less scrupulous do too. Meanwhile, just as Jane goes off to her home turf to research her theory, there's trouble in her apartment block. A man is found brutally murdered in a burnt out apartment, and Jane's young friend - an urban teen with a penchant for poetry - is implicated.

The book has a slow start but after the first 100 pages, I was finally hooked. McDermid again creates interesting and complex characters worth following, all within an equally complex and detailed story. The ending was a bit less satisfying than I would have liked, not sure I completely buy into her resolution of the various storylines. One seemed to only have been created to service the main storyline, so I was a bit disappointed there. But, still, it was an enjoyable read (I liked [The Distant Echo] better) and I'll continue to look for more McDermid. ( )
  avaland | Sep 15, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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O Reader! Had you in your mind such stores as silent thougth can bring, O gentle Reader! you would find a tale in every thing - William Wordsworth - Simon Lee
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For Kelly - my blossom of snow
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All landscapes hold their own secrets.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312339216, Hardcover)

In a novel reminiscent of The Rule of FourThe Dante Club and The Historian, suspense master McDermid spins a psychological thriller in which a present-day murder has its roots in the eighteenth century and the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty. After torrential summer rains uncover a bizarrely tattooed body on a Lake District hillside, long discarded old wives' tales takes on a chilling new plausibility. For centuries, Lakelanders have whispered that Fletcher Christian staged the massacre on Pitcairn so that he could return home. And there, he told his story to an old friend and schoolmate, William Wordsworth, who turned it into a long narrative poem--a poem that remained hidden lest it expose Wordsworth to the gallows for harboring a fugitive. Wordsworth specialist Jane Gresham, herself a native of the Lake District, feels compelled to discover once and for all whether the manuscript ever existed--and whether it still exists today. But as she pursues each new lead, death follows hard on her heels. Suddenly Jane is at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still has the power to put lives on the line. Against the dramatic backdrop of England's Lake District a drama of life and death plays out, its ultimate prize a bounty worth millions.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:42 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The discovery of strangely tattooed body in a bog gives rise to rumors regarding William Wordsworth's ties to the infamous Fletcher Christian, as Wordsworth specialist Jane Gresham searches for a manuscript that could hold the key to the historical mystery.… (more)

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