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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday - First Chapter - First Paragraph - A Place Of Execution



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.

Blurb:

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.

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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!

46 comments:

  1. The intro describes a perfect setting for a mystery. Snowy, bleak, cut off from the world. I'd keep reading!

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  2. Kay, I recently decided I want to read Val McDermid's books and wondered where to start. I've borrowed one from my local library and reading your post has encouraged me to look out for this book too. It sounds just the sort of book I enjoy reading. I don't remember the TV adaptation but I remember very well the Brady and Hinley murders!

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    1. I liked the TV adaptation, but since I hadn't read the book, I'm not sure how closely it follows along. I do know that McDermid was involved in it. I am not familiar with the Brady and Hinley murders. Not sure how they fit in, other than to illustrate the time.

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    2. Kay, I thought I'd let you know that I've now got a copy of this book - it was on the shelf at Barter Books (a secondhand bookshop I go to) yesterday, as though it was there waiting for me! Have you started reading it yet?

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    3. No, not yet. I may have to begin it on audio as I've gotten sidetracked by a bunch of graphic novels. I'm still reading The Gates of Evangeline very, very slowly. Hope you like it!!

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  3. This sounds good. I haven't read any of his (?) books yet but I do have his series on my must read list. Sooo many books! I wish I could read in my sleep LOL

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    1. Hers actually. She a no-nonsense looking woman. I love listening to her talk though.

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  4. Yes! I would keep reading -- but I really like her writing.

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  5. I loved this book, it made me go looking for more of her books.

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    1. Oh lovely. More positive feedback.

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  6. I haven't read anything by this author but, the intro appeals to me. Hope you enjoy this one.

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  7. I met Val McDermid at Book Expo a few years ago. She was very nice, despite her stern appearance.

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    1. Oh wonderful, Catherine. I'd love to see her at an event or on a panel.

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  8. I would keep reading because the intro is gripping.

    Reading With Jade

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    1. I thought so. I'm anxious to begin.

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  9. The intro makes me want to read more. The time period alone is a draw. I was a teenager in 1963, just not in England. Must wait until after Triple Dog Dare to get to this one though.

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    1. Totally understand about the Triple Dog Dare. And I also understand about the time period being a draw for you. Bet you'd recognize many things if you get a chance to read it.

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  10. I suspect that this is a book (and an author) that will hook me...love the sound of this one. The language, the premise...Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog. Enjoy!

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    1. I suspect you would like this, Laurel-Rain.

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  11. I've been wanting to try this author for awhile now. I like the intro you shared, Kay. Running away in the middle of December when its known for blizzards, would be odd. I'd be suspicious too.

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    1. Yes, I thought so too. I think the TV adaptation was a little different, but they kept showing a snowy scene.

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  12. I really like reading the books that win the awards so I'm not sure how I've missed this one. It has a great beginning and does make me want to keep reading.

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    1. It will likely be available at your local library, Margot. Since it's a little older.

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  13. Oh boy, I won't be able to resist that one!

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  14. I like the one book I have read by Val McDermid so I would keep reading. Girl Who Reads

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    1. Yes, I've read a few of her other books in the Tony/Carol series.

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  15. I read this one years ago which sparked a phase of reading pretty much everything she had written at that point but for some reason I haven't kept up with her latest - your post has made me want to revisit this one.

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    1. Great! That bodes well. I've read other books by her in her Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, but I kind of read them out of order. Anyway, it's nice this one is a standalone.

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  16. Sounds like it will definitely hold your attention. Here's Mine

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    1. I suspect it will hold mine anyway. LOL

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  17. This sounds really good! I haven't read McDermid yet but I want to read this one. Hope you love it!

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    1. I am very much looking forward to beginning this book soon. Her regular series books might be a little grim for you.

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  18. I'm going to look for this on audio. That way, I won't be breaking my Triple Dog Dare challenge, since I don't own any audio books. ;)

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    1. There you go, Les. That's some good thinking. Betting the audio would be very good.

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  19. The intro is very appealing and the blurb sounds good, too. I'm always interested in award-winners, too, so I'd like to give this a try... after the TBR Dare ;-)

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    1. Yay, more readers of this book. I'm glad.

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  20. I saw the television version. Upsetting. But one of my favorite actresses was in it so I kept watching. :<) Juliet Stevenson. And the guy who is George Gently's sidekick is the cop. And Philip Jackson. It is on Netflix dvd: http://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Masterpiece-Contemporary-Place-of-Execution/70213226?strkid=455437950_0_0&strackid=772c3a72e1c95057_0_srl&trkid=222336

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    1. I liked the TV version. It was quite poignant and scary too. Yes, I thought Juliet Stevenson did a good job. I'm curious as to how the stories compare - book and movie. I know the author did assist with the project.

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  21. I have this one on my shelf too so I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it! Enjoy!

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    1. I'll get to it after my current read, Sam.

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  22. This is the only Val McDermid book I've read and have been meaning to try her series. It was a great story - if I remember, it was kind of slow but it was all about setting the scene and place. Must read more by her!

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    1. I still haven't started it, but I'm looking forward to it. I've been a little distracted by the graphic novels and the gothic books. LOL

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!