Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading. This week I'm sharing the first few paragraphs of A Place Of Execution by a favorite author of mine, Val McDermid. This book was published in 2000 and it won an Anthony Award, a Barry Award, a Macavity Award, and a Dilys Award, plus was nominated for a Dagger Award and an Edgar. Here you have pretty much the epitome of mystery honors. A film adaptation was created by Masterpiece Contemporary in 2008. See what you think:
Like Alison Carter, I was born in Derbyshire in 1950. Like her, I grew up familiar with the limestone dales of the White Peak, no stranger to the winter blizzards that regularly cut us off from the rest of the country. It was in Buxton, after all, that snow once stopped play in a county cricket match in June.
So when Alison Carter went missing in December 1963, it meant more to me and my classmates than it can have done to most other people. We knew villages like the one she'd grown up in. We knew the sort of things she'd have done every day. We suffered through similar classes and cloakroom arguments about which of the Fab Four was our favourite Beatle. We imagined we shared the same hopes, dreams and fears. Because of that, right from the word go, we all knew something terrible had happened to Alison Carter, because something we also knew was that girls like her--like us--didn't run away. Not in Derbyshire in the middle of December, anyway.
Winter 1963: two children have disappeared off the streets of Manchester; the murderous careers of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady have begun. On a freezing day in December, another child goes missing: thirteen-year-old Alison Carter vanishes from her town, an insular community that distrusts the outside world. For the young George Bennett, a newly promoted inspector, it is the beginning of his most difficult and harrowing case: a murder with no body, an investigation with more dead ends and closed faces than he'd have found in the anonymity of the inner city, and an outcome which reverberates through the years.
Decades later he finally tells his story to journalist Catherine Heathcote, but just when the book is poised for publication, Bennett unaccountably tries to pull the plug. He has new information which he refuses to divulge, new information that threatens the very foundations of his existence. Catherine is forced to re-investigate the past, with results that turn the world upside down.
I decided to finally read this book because of a blog post I read by Cathy at Kittling: Books. She recently got to see Val McDermid at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore. How fun! And if you don't know about Cathy's blog, you definitely should. I've seen the TV adaptation of this book, but I haven't read it yet. Here I go!