The Long Drop
In the mid-1950s, Glasgow police discover a horrid triple murder: three women, brutally slain. The women, the wife, daughter, and sister-in-law of William Watts, were gunned down at home, in bed. Authorities suspect Watts and arrest him for the crime, but release him after a couple of months. His alibi holds up. In an effort to clear his name, Watts contacts career criminal Peter Manuel, who claims to know something about the slayings. The two men spend the night drinking together. Six months later, Peter Manuel is tried for murder.
In this riveting novel, Mina fictionalizes the crime and trial that hypnotized mid-20th century Glasgow. Serial killer Peter Manuel was executed in May of 1958, one of the last people to be killed by hanging in Scotland. Denise Mina’s taut and atmospheric prose brings Manuel’s criminal psyche back to life, and her novel sheds new light on possible ties between Watts and Manuel. The vanished Glasgow of that era is vividly portrayed—a tough city of courts and criminals, slums and suburbs, bakeries and bars. As we read of the lives and deaths of Manuel’s victims, they also breathe and live again. Highly recommended, especially for fans of thrillers and true crime.