The Thirteenth Coffin by Nigel McCrery

Thursday, December 24th 2015

Published by Quercus on 31st December


THE THIRTEENTH COFFIN is the latest book following DCI Mark Lapslie, a slightly broken, rather grumpy policeman with a difference – he suffers from synaesthesia, a rare neurological condition, which means tastes sounds. Part psychological thriller, part police procedural, these books are very dark, clever and completely engrossing.

Stretching along the shelf, standing upright, were twelve wooden coffins. Nine were closed, and three open … with little dolls standing inside them …

It was supposed to be the most special day of her life – until the unthinkable happened. Leslie Petersen is shot dead on her wedding day. With the bride’s killer vanished without a trace, the investigation into the murder grinds to a halt before it’s even begun. But then, the decomposing body of an unidentified homeless man is found in an old Cold War bunker, and DCI Mark Lapslie makes a bizarre discovery. Hidden near the body is a shrine full of miniature wooden coffins. Each coffin contains a little doll, all dressed differently. One of the dolls is dressed as a bride – could this be a link to Leslie’s murder? And if so, who do the other dolls represent? Can Lapslie and his team stop the countdown of the ‘dying dolls’ before it’s too late?

Jumping in with book 4 in this series was no bad thing.

I found the characters well formed and distinct, not to mention very likeable from the get-go, so I’ll certainly catch up on their previously cases in the first three books when time permits.

DCI Lapslie’s medical issue had me a little puzzled at first as a first time reader I found the words that described how he tasted someone’s voice a little odd until proper mention was made of his condition, but that was only the slightest of issues I encountered.

The author states in the opening that the tale itself uses the mystery of the tiny coffins discovered in Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh as its inspiration (a subject that Ian Rankin also used as his starting point for his Rebus novel ‘The Falls’) but spins a fresh take on that theme.

It’s been a while since I last picked up, read and enjoyed a crime novel so much – it ticks all of the tropes that crime readers want; great characters, a plot you think you’ve just got a handle on before it twists and twists again, a crime that starts out as just another case for the lead detective before turning very much personal, and a book you’ll close and want for the next one in the series.

And you can order your copy right HERE.

Have a great Christmas….

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