The Grave Tattoo

 

 

It’s summer in the Lake District and heavy rain over the fells has uncovered a bizarrely tattooed body. Could it be linked to the old rumour that Fletcher Christian, mutinous First Mate on the Bounty, had secretly returned it England?
Scholar Jane Gresham wants to find out. She believes that the Lakeland poet William Wordsworth, a friend of Christian’s, may have sheltered the fugitive and turned his tale into an epic poem – which has since disappeared. But as she follows each lead, death is hard on her heels. The centuries-old mystery is putting lives at risk. And it isn’t just the truth that is waiting to be discovered, but a bounty worth millions…

Reviews:

“A powerful psychological thriller…dramatic and highly atmospheric.”

Maxim Jakubowski, The Bookseller

“Val McDermid needs no introduction, but The Grave Tattoo is a departure for her, centring on a lost Wordsworth manuscript. McDermid employs such ingenious, unexpected plot twists that I was left open-mouthed on numerous occasions.  This book showcases a writer at the height of her powers.”  Kate Bradley, The Booksellers’ Choice

Val McDermid has done it again. She has written a standalone that is almost as good as A PLACE OF EXECUTION, which this reviewer thinks is her best work.”  Click here to read the rest of the review, Reviewingtheevidence.com

“Increasingly lethal and readable.”  Henry Sutton

“Cunning new thriller…The Grave Tattoo is a substantial and substantially entertaining novel which grips the reader’s interest from the first page until the final deeply satisfying sentence.”  The Express

“An absorbing modern mystery…McDermid’s mix of historical and literary clues with modern detection is handled with panache.”  The Times

“The bucolic rolling landscape of England’s Lake District yields an unusually rich and complex plot…as much a literary puzzle as it is a murder mystery…. McDermid provides enough violence to add real urgency to her intriguing premise…the novel’s scholarship is exciting on it’s own terms and entirely appropriate for a district so wildly beautiful that it attracts both poets and pirates.” New York Times

“The excellent McDermid is back with another gripping psychological thriller.”  Belfast Telegraph

“The best since A PLACE OF EXECUTION. Val McDermid’s THE GRAVE TATTOO is an irresistible combination of contemporary psychological thriller and historical mystery filled with the moody atmosphere of the Lake District. And in Wordsworth scholar Jane Gresham, McDermid has created a character whose keen intellect matches her generous heart.”  Tess Gerritsen, New York Times

“A book with both heart and brains, characters that engage, a compulsive plot in which real historical tragedies are exposed in a new light by up-to-the-minute passions and science. Good and evil gather power to a highly satisfying conclusion.  As an added pleasure, much of the story is set in the grandeur of the Lake District, described with a poet’s eye.”  Anne Perry

“If you want to be gender-specific, Val McDermid is Britain’s leading female crime writer. She’s also one of the world’s leading mystery writers, combining acuity of perception about the pathological mind with a rare talent for blindsiding the reader and graphic descriptive powers. Thomas Harris crossed with Agatha Christie, if you will…The Grave Tattoo is a great read; England’s heritage history has never been so chilling.” The Observer

“It is difficult to find words to capture the masterful achievement that is Val McDermid’s THE GRAVE TATTOO. It is an erudite page-turner, a ripping yarn that showcases McDermid’s always astute understanding of human psychology, whether in the 19th century Lake District or a 21st century council flat. Filled with memorable characters and, yes, gorgeous scenery, it is as rare and priceless as the object of its modern-day treasure hunt.” Laura Lippman

The Grave Tattoo is absolutely compelling reading. McDermid brilliantly explores the dark side of human heart — seamlessly combining the search for the explosive truth behind a priceless lost manuscript, and the story it reveals, with a wonderfully imagined contemporary story of corrosive greed and manipulation.  A true page turner, this is Val McDermid at her very best.” Joe Finder

“Grave Tattoo is high literature, not a genre read; a skilful combination of historical fiction and front line forensics in the hands of compelling characters drawn so vividly that at times you want to scream at the page.  Do not miss this book.” Ridley Pearson

“With a feminist, socially conscious spin, McDermid vividly contrasts marginal subsistence in London’s dismal Marshpool neighbourhood with the Lake District’s bucolic lifestyle…this could be McDermid’s breakout book.” Publisher’s Weekly

 

“Something of a departure for Manchester’s queen of the dark borders of crime, this cleverly plotted thriller has its origins in the story of the mutiny on the Bounty. Lt Fletcher Christian, who led the revolt against tyrannical Captain Bligh, was once rumoured to have secretly returned to England, where he had been a friend of Wordsworth. When a bizarrely tattooed body is found in the Lake District, all the clues a local scholar can find lead back to the poet and an alleged testament left by the historical mutineer. Lost manuscripts, 200-year-old enigmas, an isolated Derbyshire village mystery and oodles of atmosphere: McDermid concocts a fascinating brew which is miles away from her customary bloody excursions into the realms of the perverse. It should gain her a crowd of new fans.”  Maxim Jacobowski, The Guardian

“With her series on forensic psychologist Tony Hill, McDermid has proven that she can weave solid plots and also THE GRAVE TATTOO is completely satisfying. The turns and twists are surprising.” NRC

“THE GRAVE TATOO is thrilling, informative and fun to read. Only a true master can brew a good book out of this multitude of strange ingredients.” The Telegraft

“Scottish crime novelist McDermid once again proves herself the consummate storyteller in this clever blending of history, mystery, verse, and vice…against the backdrop of England’s idyllic Lake District, McDermid renders a supremely satisfying tale in which matters of heart and mind are entwined.” Booklist US

“McDermid handles the interplay between past and present with masterful and infectious conviction.” Kirkus

“A sparkling intellectual puzzle.” Laurie King

 

“McDermid dazzles us with the range and depth of her creative imagination.” Sara N. Paretsky

 

“THE GRAVE TATTOO may be her best book yet…part historical mystery, part chase thriller, but most of all a fascinating juxtaposition of upper-middle class academic mores and hard-bitten public-housing-project survival.” Baltimore Sun

 

 

“[McDermid] shows her extraordinary range as the story weaves between Wordsworth’s, “notes,” the rarefied atmosphere of academia, and the gritty reality of underclass London.” Boston Globe

 

 

“Val McDermid is Britain’s leading female crime writer. She’s also one of the world’s leading mystery writers, combining acuity of perception about the pathological mind with a rare talent for blindsiding the reader and graphic descriptive powers. THE GRAVE TATTOO is a great read; England’s heritage history has never been so chilling.”       Peter Guttridge, The Observer

“McDermid dazzles us with the range and depth of her creative imagination.”  Sara N. Paretsky

 “THE GRAVE TATTOO may be her best book yet…part historical mystery, part chase thriller, but most of all a fascinating juxtaposition of upper-middle class academic mores and hard-bitten public-housing-project survival.”  Baltimore Sun

 “The bucolic rolling landscape of England’s Lake District yields an unusually rich and complex plot…as much a literary puzzle as it is a murder mystery…. McDermid provides enough violence to add real urgency to her intriguing premise…the novel’s scholarship is exciting on it’s own terms and entirely appropriate for a district so wildly beautiful that it attracts both poets and pirates.”  New York Times