Val McDermid

Before winning a Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel for the psychological thriller The Mermaids Singing, Val McDermid was best known for her two series, one featuring journalist Lindsay Gordan, the other private investigator Kate Brannigan. Those with Gordon are traditional mysteries with a twist; the ammeter sleuth is a lesbian and the books feature contemporary issues. The Brannigans, in which Manchester plays an integral part, follow the feminist PI tradition, with Kate juggling several cases at once. However, unlike many other investigators, Kate is not a loner and has a network of friends to fall back on. These include her lover Richard, a female crime reporter, a retired armed robber and a senior policewomen. In the Mermaids Singing, McDermid changed to a darker and more violent style of writing. Her main characters in this novel and its sequel, The Wire in the Blood, are a policewoman and a criminal profiler charged with catching serial killers.

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