The Skeleton Road
The Skeleton Road, now available in paperback, is a gripping standalone novel about a cold case that links back to the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. In the center of historic Edinburgh, builders are preparing to demolish a disused Victorian Gothic building. They are understandably surprised to find skeletal remains hidden in a high pinnacle that hasn’t been touched by maintenance for years. But who do the bones belong to, and how did they get there? Could the eccentric British pastime of free climbing the outside of buildings play a role? Enter cold case detective Karen Pirie, who gets to work trying to establish the corpse’s identity. And when it turns out that the bones may be from as far away as former Yugoslavia, Karen will need to dig deeper than she ever imagined into the tragic history of the Balkans: to war crimes and their consequences, and ultimately to the notion of what justice is and who serves it.
“McDermid [is] a deft hand at crafting murder mysteries heavily laced with psychological suspense. . . Evocative writing . . . From vertiginous start to electrifying finale, The Skeleton Road delivers twists-a-plenty in this tautly-told tale.”—Daneet Steffens, The Boston Globe
“Melds the political thriller with the police procedural . . . Feels both intensely personal and global. . . . Karen . . . once again proves herself a formidable character worthy of her own series.” —Oline H. Cogdill, Associated Press
the rule of law in the midst of a wider conflict, she’d been co-opted by Maggie Blake in the campaign to restore the shattered Old Town of Dubrovnik. Presumably that had been when she first met Petrovic, who had been running the Croatian Army’s intelligence operation in the area. But the end of the siege of Dubrovnik was only the end of the beginning of the long conflict in the region, a conflict whose heart Petrovic was somehow always close to. When the fighting spilled over into
sheet of paper with ‘Publications’ scrawled across it. ‘I wouldn’t say that,’ Proctor said. ‘It’s more to do with the fact that she keeps writing about the Balkans and we see her publications.’ ‘If you say so, Theo.’ ‘So, going back to my question . . . Have you been in touch with General Petrovic since he left Maggie Blake? And do you know where he is?’ ‘That’s two questions, Theo. To which the answers are, “no”, and “not exactly”.’ Macanespie’s head popped up, his expression eager. He
for both of them. Kinder, really, to walk away as he had done. And yet . . . She could not quite understand or forgive the silence that had echoed down the years. By not spelling out to her that he truly was gone for good, he had condemned her to hope. That was what felt cruel to her, and Mitja was not a cruel man. So it made no sense. After he’d gone, some of her friends had urged Maggie to go looking for him. To return to Croatia, to use her connections to track him down as if he were a war
entered from behind. Even so, she couldn’t quite relax. Every time the train stopped, she was alert. When her taxi deposited her at last at the gates of St Scholastica’s, Maggie finally felt on safe ground. She longed to be back in her own rooms, but habit carried her into the lodge. She greeted the porter over her shoulder as she went to check her pigeonhole. As well as the usual assortment of post, there was a blue envelope with her name in familiar flowing script, clearly delivered by hand.
of armchairs opposite the small sofa where she preferred to sit. She dropped her backpack by her seat and perched on the edge, elbows on knees, leaning forward. ‘Now tell me,’ she said. ‘I’d like you to cast your mind back thirteen years,’ Karen said. ‘You opened a bank account at the Forth and Clyde Bank. It was a joint account with a man called Dimitar Petrovic.’ Maggie felt a cold sensation in her chest, as if part of her body had been put in a blast chiller. ‘What if I did?’ To her