Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private- investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself.
Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: the mysterious circumstances of a dying woman have led them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has a devastating experience.
Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and
a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.
Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series.
Doug Johnstone is the author of twelve previous novels, most recently The Big Chill (2020). Several of his books have been bestsellers and three, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), were shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade – including at a funeral parlour ahead of writing A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three solo EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh. Follow Doug on Twitter @doug_johnstone and visit his website: dougjohnstone.com.
I’ve enjoyed this book so much that I’m saying this very quietly. I haven’t read the first books in the series. Yet. Because now, I have to! These characters are so alive they almost reach out and touch you, or in some cases grab you by the throat!
They are massively well developed characters so much so that I was so invested in their story that I tore through this, on a need to know basis. Wanting to know what was happening wasn’t enough.
The twists and turns are countered with humour and understanding of how generations of women work. Or don’t! The cleverness of switching chapters from woman to woman and showing their separate and entwined lives, is a massive page turner. It ensures that you’re on a ride that you just don’t want to get off.
I will definitely be catching up on Doug Johnstone’s first two books about the Skelfs. Then I shall be recommending this fantastic mix of mystery, family and humour to anyone who will listen! This is not to be missed.
With thanks to Anne Cater, the publisher and author for the advanced reading copy of this book.