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Book Group: Sept 2015 - The Mermaids Singing discussion thread

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Sep 2015
1:40pm, 10 Sep 2015
21035 posts
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Night-owl
**** Do not read if you haven't read The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid****

Spoilers ahead
Sep 2015
5:40pm, 27 Sep 2015
656 posts
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westmoors
Read this whilst on holiday. Having seen the TV series, Tony Hill was Robson Green!! Quite enjoyed it, but there was no mystery as I knew from the start who the killer was.
Sep 2015
12:38pm, 29 Sep 2015
11155 posts
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Diogenes
Started this just now. I'm finding it a bit lumbering and cliched. I haven't read any McDermid before but I expected to like her.
Oct 2015
6:54pm, 1 Oct 2015
24033 posts
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Bintmcskint
It took me a while to get into this but that was more about not having the time to devote to reading anything at all rather than about the book itself.

I liked it. Once time became my friend once more I raced through it.

Yes, it was hard to get to image of Robson Green out of my head but that didn't matter too much (in my head Tony Hill was chunkier) and, as I wasn't really a regular viewer of Wire in the Blood, I didn't know the plot.

Clearly it is held in some esteem as a classic of the serial killer genre as it is on Not a Teen's uni course on 20th century crime fiction this year. Thanks for choosing it, NO. I wouldn't have picked it off the shelf but would read more Val McDermid and it's good to have new things to recommend to customers :-)
Oct 2015
10:33pm, 7 Oct 2015
18642 posts
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McGoohan
I've never watched the TV sow, but even I had Robson Green's face in my mind's eye. In a way it would have been nice to come to this 'clean' without the TV baggage.

Intriguing. The blurb was all about this being a really different serial killer story and being ultra-original. I don't really read much in the way of detective fiction but it didn't seem very original to me. Then again, this was published 20 years ago and since then there has been an explosion of cold case / profiler/ serial killer fiction and TV. It's entirely possible that this started the trend!

I got the same feeling I got when I re-read Complicity - how dated the references were. There was one bit where a policeman says something like 'they get on like the Prince and Princess of Wales'. Ooh dear. That's from when Charles and Di had split up then.

When I read a book, I sometimes look at the Amazon reviews - particularly the 1-star reviews. Some of the ones for this are head-smackingly stupid. 'I really did not like this book. I know Val McDiermid has tons of fans, but the account, early in the narrative, of a dog being deliberately murdered, sickened me, and I don't even like dogs much.' and 'Had to stop reading it it was so violent'. FFS - it's a book about a serial killer!

Another thing I didn't like much was the interruption of the narrative for Tony Hill to have a think about Carole Jordan and maybe he could be attracted... and then the POV switches to Carole and she's thinking about maybe she's flirting too much or not enough... and all the while they're supposedly looking at grisly photos of murder victims. The will they/won't they love story side-plot really didn't convince me at all.

And having said all that, once I'd got about a third of the way in, something 'clicked' and I just whizzed through the rest of the book, so Val McD is clearly doing something right.

Not sure it's my cup of tea, but I'm glad I read it, so thanks, NO.
Oct 2015
10:36pm, 7 Oct 2015
18643 posts
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McGoohan
So.... you know how serial killers in books, TV and film always have a Nutty Room? You know, with Bible quotes scrawled on the walls or somesuch. In a film, either the police break in and go 'Oh my God!' or as viewers we are shown the room and go 'Oh my God, it's *him*. Look at his nutty room!'

Well Adam Buxton (of Adam and Joe fame) had noticed this and he made this little song to celebrate such killers and their Nutty Rooms. Enjoy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKtD8_OyzSc
Nov 2015
3:24pm, 5 Nov 2015
11567 posts
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Diogenes
Picked this up again today as I thought it would be the ideal thing to read on my sick bed. I'm finding it hasn't aged well, and the style rather heavy-handed. An example of this in the description of a senior officer's office. The paragraph ends like this:

"Deduction: in spite of the impression Brandon strove to give as a bluff, straightforward, conventional copper, he was actually far more complex and thoughtful under the surface."

You may be a detective but let us make our own deductions...
Nov 2015
9:13am, 26 Nov 2015
12809 posts
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Yorkshire Pie
i hadn't watched the tv show and wasn't really aware of it (I recognised the name, but watch virtually no tv so didn't know much more than that). It took a while to get into it but once I did I rattled through it fairly quickly. I'm not normally into this sort of book, but it still felt a little formulaic in places and the interruptions to the plot for the flirting etc stuff grated a little. I'd like it to be possible to have a male/female partnership without there needing to be a love story simmering behind it.

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**** Do not read if you haven't read The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid****

Spoilers ahead
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