Saturday, March 18, 2023

In Place of Fear

In Place of Fear is a well written historical mystery thriller by Catriona McPherson. Released 28th June 2022 by Hachette on their Mobius imprint, it's 352 pages and is available in hardcover and ebook formats. Paperback due out in late second quarter 2023 from the same publisher. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

The author is quite adept at both setting and characterization and the book is redolent of post-WW2 Edinburgh with dialogue and vernacular from the place and period. She's included a helpful glossary for some of the more impenetrable words and phrases, though its location at the back of the book was slightly less convenient for quick-lookups. One reason that some readers may prefer the electronic format; it makes lookups painless. The phrases likely won't be problematic in most cases for most readers because McPherson is talented at context setting, so most of the time the meanings are clear. 

The plot arc is tightly controlled and well measured; there's a distinctly thriller-ish vibe in many places. The characterizations are believable (in some cases all-too-sadly-realistic), and the protagonist is likable and idealistic. The author has clearly done a prodigious amount of research on the time period and place, because there's a vast amount of interesting minutiae on the nascence of the NHS in Scotland and general public perceptions of class and gender roles as well. 

Four stars. Engaging and satisfying thriller(ish) read. Recommended especially to fans of Anna Lee Huber and Nicola Upson. It should be noted that this book is -not- in any way the same as the author's excellent (and hysterically funny/campy) Last Ditch Mysteries, which also come very very highly recommended.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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