Murder Lies Waiting

Written by Alanna Knight
Review by Cathy Kemp

Murder Lies Waiting may grab the attention by its quirky title, giving the reader the idea that they are in for a real treat. Our female detective, Rose McQuinn (or Macmerry), has travelled from Edinburgh to the Isle of Bute with her housekeeper, Sadie Brook, for a week’s holiday. During their stay Sadie admits to a former life on the island (and former name as Sarah Vantry), as well as a non-proven verdict following her acquittal at a murder trial some twenty years earlier. Unfortunately, the lack of questioning applied towards her housekeeper’s history about these revelations leaves us feeling irritated at the detective’s potential to solve any crime. This, together with the end of chapter summaries that are presumably intended to tease the reader into pursuing the story, and the repetition of information (in one case on the same page), leads to a lack of credibility in the characters.

The historical events referred to such as the growth of the suffrage movement, and the lack of female cyclists and motorists shows insight, and research has been applied into the background of the novel. But the writing style and plot appear rushed and un-proofed before publication, and though the storyline is good, the conclusion appears to have been thrown together with haste. It may be time for the author to re-visit her characters’ traits and delve into developing her detection along more realistic lines, whilst looking again at the information provided to allow the reader to identify the murderer.