Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Grave Tattoo, by Val McDermid (on CD)

Another case of the reader making the book so much better, in this case a difficult task as the book is already pretty darn good.

The case superficially revolves around a recently discovered body in the marshes in the Lake District, but really it's about Jane Gresham, a scholar from the area currently supplementing her small teaching stipend by waiting tables in London, who is determined to find out whether this body is that of Fletcher Christian--of H.M.S. Bounty fame--and whether his return to his birthplace in the Lake District led to his friend William Wordsworth's writing of a "lost" epic poem about him. Murder ensues. Are academics really this amoral?

I knew fairly early on who the Bad Seed was. I stuck with the book primarily because of the side-story of a neighbor of Jane's in London, a 13-year-old girl named Tenille, who is all that a neglected, poor, project-raised girl would be as well as being quite smart and very into poetry, especially 19th-century poetry. What an interesting mix of personality traits! And because of her background and some ill-timed bad choices, she is on the run in connection with the death of her aunt's boyfriend.