BLOOD RED ROSES, published
in 2005, is the prequel to 2003's DRIFTNET which introduced Glasgow forensic
scientist, Rhona Macleod.
In the early hours of the morning, after an anniversary
party for her colleague DI Bill Wilson, Rhona is called to a murder scene. A
young woman on her hen night has been found dead under suspicious
circumstances in a night-club's toilets. From the body's death grin, Rhona
immediately suspects poisoning. Interviews with the woman's friends and
fiance reveal very little but Rhona and Bill wonder how she could afford the
enormously expensive wedding dress hanging in her bedroom. And who left the
red rose, discarded in the waste paper bin?
In spite of the
reluctance of witnesses to help, the truth begins to emerge and then a
second young woman is found dead. Rhona uses her CSI skills to discover a
vital clue, which leads to the murderer.
BLOOD RED ROSES is an
entertaining tale which is quite graphic in parts, as lap dancing is
integral to the mystery. We know from the outset that the killer is known to
the dead women but their identity is cleverly obscured, especially as there
are a limited number of possibilities in a 90 page book. Rhona is fiercely
independent but we see her defences go down for a saxophonist called Sean.
provides an excellent audio narration, as she did for Louise Anderson's
PERCEPTION OF DEATH.
BLOOD RED ROSES is a
satisfying introduction to the world of Rhona Macleod and I hope to revisit
before too long.