Written in Bone
Delacorte, Oct 2007, $24.00
The Scottish police ask forensic anthropologist Dr. David Hunter to assist their investigation into a fiery death on Runa, a remote Hebridean island, as they have no expert available to look at the crime scene at this time. All that remains of the victim besides ash and bone are feet and one hand; the shack where the person died has no signs of a fire.
Dr. Hunter, Police Sergeant Fraser, and Constable Duncan travel to Runa, a small island community whose residents live off the ocean and visiting tourists. However, Hunter and the two cops accompanying him find the island inhospitable when storms batter Runa and communications to the mainland are completely cut off. Retired chief inspector Brody, who found the first corpse, assists the outsiders while the death count rises yet the islanders refuse to cooperate with the mainlanders.
Although the motive for the murder seems pathetic, Simon Beckett provides a terrific atmospheric police procedural. The story line is fast-paced with Hunter and his cohorts struggling to gain cooperation from the locals even with one of them assisting the inquiry. Filled with twists, it is us vs. them attitude that makes for a wonderful deep whodunit.