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Garnethill (1998)

by Denise Mina

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Maureen O'Donnell (1), Garnethill trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9713216,516 (3.82)140
Maureen O'Donnell wakes up one morning to find her therapist boyfriend murdered in the middle of her living room and herself a prime suspect in a murder case. Determined to clear her name, Maureen undertakes her own investigation and learns of a similar murder at a local psychiatric hospital. She soon uncovers a trail of deception and repressed scandal that could clear her name--or make her the next victim. She did not do it and to clear her name she has to find the real killer. A tale of exploitation of mental patients.… (more)
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» See also 140 mentions

English (31)  Spanish (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Garnet Hill. Denise Mina. 1998. Wow! What a great novel! I read the 400 pages it in two days! It is very powerful and readable. Maureen is an amazingly resilient character. She struggles with emotional problems caused by incest. She wakes up after a night of heavy drinking and discovers the body of her boyfriend, in her living room with his throat cut. Police initially suspect Maureen and then her brother so she decides she has to find out who killed her boyfriend, We admire Maureen and wonder at her strength and humor as she struggles against the doubts of the police, her own self-doubt, and the anger and denial of her alcoholic mother and sisters. This is the first volume of a trilogy. It may be too much for those who cannot take strong emotional, violent and sexual scenes. That is takes place in Glasgow is a bonus! ( )
  judithrs | Dec 1, 2020 |
Because my mind was pre-occupied with concern over current events I had hoped Garnethill would help distract me. The fact that I completed it means it did help to a certain extent. But I would be the first to admit my review is definitely skewed.

I wasn't able to give it my full attention. Had a hard time remembering all the characters' names, or understanding some of the Glasgow dialect. I did appreciate the plot as well as Maureen, Liam and Leslie. I did find the novel coarser and grittier than I care for.

While I understood Maureen's motivation at the end I would like to think there was another way to catch and stop a predator.

I truly don't understand how Maureen could consider remaining in her apartment, and having anything to do with her family except for Liam.
  Bookish59 | Nov 11, 2020 |
Gritty, Scottish crime fiction in an easy to read, page turning style. I’ll be trying the next one in this series. ( )
  Mercef | Jul 3, 2020 |
I found this book and the main character really engaging. I was turned onto it from an NPR interview with the author, where she talks about using Glasgow as an inspiration for her work.

This is a straight forward murder mystery with a unique protagonist- an ex-mental patient. She has suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her father, and some members of her family, specifically her mother and a sister, refuse to believe her and that sets off a breakdown. It also throws all of her future dealings with people into suspicion since they can always doubt that she understands truth from reality.

I was a bit unhappy with the climax of the book, as I felt it was a bit choppy. And unless this is the beginning of a series, I was left with a lot of questions that I feel should have been addressed.

For a first novel, I think it was a tremendous effort, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes mysteries. ( )
  HardcoverHearts | Mar 24, 2018 |
Maureen O’Donnell is an abuse survivor in a relationship with a psychiatrist at the same hospital where she is receiving treatment for her continuing trauma. After a night out with a friend she tumbles straight into bed and wakes up in the morning to find her (married) boyfriend tied up in her living room with his throat slit. The police, the man’s wife and politician mother all believe Maureen, or her drug dealing brother, did it. In an attempt to make sure her name is cleared Maureen begins to investigate the crime herself.

The proximal subject matter, sexual abuse in institutions, is an important issue but I am astonished that this book could appear on anyone’s list of best or favourites as Mina’s writing leaves a lot to be desired. There is a profusion of telling not showing plus acres of unconvincing dialogue. Chapter titles tend to be people’s names but quite often those people barely appear within them. Every time there is a police interview we are told about the tape recording protocol. It is as if Mina believes the reader must be shown every little detail of her hero’s experience. We really don’t. In what must surely be a breach of police good practice one of the investigating officers conveniently gives her privileged information.

The novel is set in Glasgow but the city itself seems absent. None of its vibrancy or character comes across. Also there are constant references to the Byres Road, the Great Western Road, the Maryhill Road. No Glaswegian I have met has ever mentioned a street by name and used the definite article. It’s always just Byres Road, Great Western Road, Maryhill Road. No “the”.

Yes, the purpose of this sort of thing is the unfolding of the plot and the unravelling of “whodunit” and in this respect it just about meets the need. Yet even here there was a hiccup. Quite near the novel’s end Maureen is told the name of the murderer by one of her interviewees but Mina does not let the reader know it at that point. I don’t read much crime fiction but I would submit such an attempt to prolong suspense artificially is unfair on the reader. (That the murderer’s identity could be worked out fairly easily vitiated that attempt in any case.)

The more the book progressed the harder my suspension of disbelief became. Towards the end I wasn’t believing any of it.

Moreover the book is riddled with punctuation errors (see Pedant’s corner.) The edition I read was a reprint; the latest of numerous editions. (Goodreads lists well over ten.) How can these errors not have been spotted and rooted out long before this? Does no-one care about quality control? Some might say these are niggling concerns but when they stop a reader in his/her tracks and force a line, sentence or paragraph to be re-read to decipher the sense it becomes non-trivial.

This one is for die-hard crime fans only. ( )
  jackdeighton | Aug 18, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Denise Minaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brondum, KlavsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guillén, EscarlataTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hangasmäki, MerviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Høverstad, Torstein BuggeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kampmann, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Loubet, PascalTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snel, MariëllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Styron, DorisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Unnerstad, BoelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Für meine Mutter Edith
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Maureen dried her eyes impatiently, lit a cigarette, walked over to the bedroom window, and threw open the heavy red curtains.
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Maureen O'Donnell wakes up one morning to find her therapist boyfriend murdered in the middle of her living room and herself a prime suspect in a murder case. Determined to clear her name, Maureen undertakes her own investigation and learns of a similar murder at a local psychiatric hospital. She soon uncovers a trail of deception and repressed scandal that could clear her name--or make her the next victim. She did not do it and to clear her name she has to find the real killer. A tale of exploitation of mental patients.

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