x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Where the Bodies are Buried: Two crimes in one city

Chris Brookmyre's crime novel set in Glasgow bears his trademark dark humour, but not his satirical style.

Where the Bodies are Buried by Chris Brookmyre. Little, Brown
Where the Bodies are Buried by Chris Brookmyre. Little, Brown

The book opens with a scene of a city at night. The air is muggy, carrying the scent of a thousand barbecues. "It really didn't seem like Glasgow at all. Apart from the guy lying on the deck in the advanced stages of a kicking."

Fans of Brookmyre will see a flash of familiarity in this dark humour. But this is more a conventional crime novel than the satires with which he has built his career.

There are two narrative strands. One sees Detective Superintendent Catherine McLeod investigating an apparently routine drug-related killing.

The other follows Jasmine Sharp, an aspiring actress working for her uncle's private investigation business. When he goes missing she tries to find him. Her main lead is his last case - a family who disappeared 27 years ago.

Of course, the two strands become entangled. Glasgow, one character reminds McLeod, doesn't do "whodunnits".

Brookmyre claims to have never written a book so vulnerable to spoilers so perhaps it's best to leave the plot summary there and turn to another mysterious disappearance. Namely, what has happened to the rest of Chris(topher) Brookmyre's name?