Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison

‘Any eejit can commit a murder – it takes brains to commit an accident.’

Glasgow, 1932. A city of contrasts. There is the rough, tough city full of gang violence, sectarian loyalties, unemployment, and poverty. And there is the power and influence held by the wealthy and well-connected. This is the backdrop for Mr Morrison’s debut novel.

A boy is murdered in his home in one of the poorer areas of Glasgow, his mother savagely beaten. A man is found floating in the River Clyde with his throat cut. The man found floating is Charles Geddes, the son-in-law of the patriarch of one of the city’s most influential families. Inspector Jimmy Dreghorn is the lead detective in the first case and is specifically sought by the family to lead the second. He has a history with the family especially with the victim’s widow, Isla Lockhart, and rivalries within the police will also complicate his involvement.

While it is clear who murdered the child, Inspector Dreghorn and his partner Archie McDaid must work hard to find out who murdered Charles Geddes. There’s motivation aplenty, and no shortage of suspects.

Dreghorn and McDaid’s search for answers leads them both into danger. In the meantime, Dreghorn’s search for information on another matter raises other issues. Some people are keen to explore the past, while others simply want to forget.

While I was tempted to read quickly, to find out who murdered Charles Geddes and why, I found myself consciously slowing the pace of my read so I could see the Glasgow being described and try to understand the various connections between the various characters. While a couple of aspects seemed improbable, they did not drag me out of the story.

It is a complex, gritty crime story that held my attention from beginning to end. Highly recommended.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith