The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid




Though I reluctantly decided to read this story because friends wouldn’t stop urging me to do so, it immediately became one of my most favorite series and McDermid one of my most favorite authors in the genre. The books were also adapted into a TV series, Wire in the Blood.






The story opens with the murder of a man whose body was found outside a bar in a gay district. He happens to be the fourth of a series of murders with similar characteristics. The police superintendant is reluctant to classify these as connected to one serial murderer but is forced to do so when the DCI brings in a profiler. Tony Hunt is a criminal psychologist is asked to work with Carol Jordan, a recently promoted Detective Inspector. They work together to marry the profile with police work.

This was a particularly interesting story made even more so because of some of the writing methods. The police are analyzing clues in the present day while we are given portions of the killer’s journal to read at the beginning of chapter, starting with the onset of the first murder. Additionally, not only is the profile of the killer presented to us but Tony Hunt’s process for developing it is detailed.

The characters in this story are richly defined, with all of the flaws, shortcomings and admirable traits you’d expect to find in a police department. Even the profiler brings his share of baggage to the party. The killings are pretty gruesome so be prepared for some pretty rough moments. I must admit that after Googling some of the torture mechanisms, I decided to skim over the actual murders.

I was surprised at the outcome but mostly because of the skill of the writing. It’s a well-written story with a host of interesting players to keep you hooked. I plan to continue this series.

Book Info

  • Release Date: June 17, 2002
  • Series: Tony Hill/Carol Jordan #1
  • Page Numbers: 467


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16 thoughts on “The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid”

  1. Great review Jonetta! I love when a book surprises you and you end up loving it more than you thought. Sounds like a great series. I’ll look into it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You and Marialyce are both reviewing this author today, and I’ve not read her before! Have you read more than one series from her, or have you stuck with this one? I’m trying to figure out where I should start- I’m so ready to start now after these two endorsements. Wonderful review, Jonetta! I didn’t know about the TV show either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I started with this series and switched to audio after this book and it was the best decision. I’ve read two of her standalones, too. This series is where I’d start because it seems to have her complete signature.

      The TV series stayed close to the books in the first season but then went in a different direction and I dropped out. This is one time I’d stick to my read-the-book-first rule.

      Hope that’s helpful!

      Liked by 1 person

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