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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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8653010,292 (3.42)57
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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English (25)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
In The Grave Tattoo, Val McDermid gives us three heroines. The first is Jane Gresham, a Wordsworth scholar with an idea that there's an undiscovered manuscript poem tied in with Fletcher Christian of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. The second is Tenille Cole, 13 years old, mixed race, smart, poetry loving, with Jane her only real friend. The third is River Wilde, a forensic anthropologist who will be examining a body found in a peat bog -- one that might be Christian himself if old local rumors about his survival are true.

Two of the three are going to find themselves suspected of murders they didn't commit, but their actions make them seem guilty. The third will discover crucial evidence.

Throw in misunderstood motives, coincidence, a father one should avoid crossing at all costs, an ex whose a real jerk, a murder attempt on one of the heroines, and a harrowing climax for a really good mix. There were times I wanted to reach into the CDs and shake those coppers, yelling that they've got the wrong end of the stick.

There are also chapter openings about Fletcher Christian that were interesting in their own right.

If you dislike multiple viewpoints, this book has them. I enjoyed that. My favorite suspect didn't do it. At least I'm not a police officer, so I didn't hassle an innocent person. Ms. Reading's narration was fine. Not everyone gets a happy ending, but not every character deserves one.

Notes:

When one character greets Inspector R at the door with, Ah, an inspector calls, I think she's making a slight joke because An Inspector Calls is the title of a J. B. Priestly play. It's a modern classic. I've listened to an audio version and it was very thought provoking as well as very good. Its message should have been heeded by some of the characters.

A British abbreviation that might not be familiar to American readers is 'mod. cons.'. It's short for 'modern conveniences'. ( )
  JalenV | Jun 27, 2015 |
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 |
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Val McDermidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grlic, OlgaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magee, DavidCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moller, MymsyAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, LauraProducersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:38 -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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