When police are called to a murder scene at the home of Aberdeen socialite Annabel Imray, they find themselves under pressure to get a conviction, and fast. Meanwhile, local PIs Wilma Harcus and Maggie Laird are at rock bottom, desperate for income. As Maggie contemplates replacing Wilma with an unpaid intern, an eccentric widow appoints them to search for her lost cat – and Wilma goes off-piste to negotiate a loan, with terrifying terms. As the fear caused by a series of sinister break-ins escalates, Maggie blames the aggressive language in public discourse for inciting violent crime. But before long, she finds she is in the danger zone herself.
Will Wilma manage to save her?
I received a copy of this book from Saraband in return for an honest review.
Wilma Harcus and Maggie Laird are a private investigation team. As different, as it’s possible to be, the two women look out for each other, have a strong friendship and success rate. Despite, all of this the business is struggling and money is needed urgently. Maggie (the cautious, sensible one), thinks about selling her assets to keep meet the bills. Wilma, (the free spirit), goes for a less conventional and ultimately dangerous alternative, which has consequences for her friend.
This is the fourth book, in the Harcus and Laird series. It’s my first encounter, with the team and I find it, full of action, humour and solid investigation. Although the characters have history and previous cases are alluded to, it doesn’t detract from this story.
The characters are engaging and realistic. The story is cleverly plotted and the divergent investigations interweave to produce a strong ending.
Payback is enjoyable crime fiction, with a strong sense of place, humour and team dynamic.
Claire MacLeary lived for many years in Aberdeen and St Andrews, but describes herself as “a feisty Glaswegian with a full life to draw on”. Following a career in business, she gained an MLitt with Distinction from the University of Dundee and her short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies. She has appeared at Granite Noir, Noir at the Bar and other literary events. Claire’s debut novel,Cross Purpose, was longlisted for the prestigious McIlvanney Prize, Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award 2017, and Burnout was longlisted for the Hearst Big Book Award 2018.Runaway is her third novel and continues the Harcus & Laird series.