After an unexpected death, three generations of women take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a brilliant, page-turning and darkly funny new series The Skelfs are a well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events. Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another women, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined. As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything… It’s a compelling and tense thriller and a darkly funny, warm portrait of a family in turmoil.
Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also playermanager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.
This is a darkly comic tale of a family who not only bury your loved ones, but also spend their time following loved ones who’ve maybe strayed. I don’t really know how to describe the Skelfs except to say I loved this book. It made me laugh, it’s also got some touching moments. Describing it as Six Feet Under meets Private Eyes set in Scotland sort of gives you a really rough idea.
I am so excited that the second book in the series will be out later in the year too because it’s that compelling and fun, I need another dose asap!
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.