Portrait of a mystery
Dylan Scott vowed never to return to the dreary town of Dawson's Clough. But one visit from a beautiful ex-lover and he's back in Lancashire, investigating a possible murder. The police think Prue Murphy died during a burglary gone wrong, but her sister isn't so sure—and neither is Dylan. After all, the killer overlooked the only valuable thing in Prue's flat.
So who could have wanted the quirky young woman dead, and why? Dylan's search for answers takes him to France, where he discovers Prue's family didn't know her as well as they thought they did. And the more he digs, the more secrets he unearths—secrets someone would kill to keep buried?...
Ensconced in his new office, chosen and decorated by Bev, Dylan is hopeful, bored but hopeful. As luck would have it his first “office” client has a suspicious death case in, of all places, Dawson’s Clough. The deceased was known to Dylan, albeit slightly and years ago. Prue Murphy was the sister of his former lover Maddie. Dylan has more than a possible murder on his hands when Maddie makes it plain she’s more than amenable to rekindling the inferno that once burned between them.
For some reason I’ve never imagined Dylan without Bev. It was interesting to glimpse a pre-Bev Dylan and a Dylan sorely tempted by Maddie. When he remembers her, all he can recall is a blue bedroom, a smiley face and incredible sex. Maddie chases Dylan hot and heavy regardless of his marriage and children. Does he give in to her allure?
The disparate lives of Maddie and Prue, the familial disconnect, the contrast between Maddie’s disparaging opinion of her sister and the glowing descriptions of everyone else have Dylan solving more than just a murder mystery. I have to confess that I didn’t like Maddie. When all was said and done I understood more of the why regarding Maddie but I’m still not sure I liked her.
Dying Art is, in my humble opinion, the most emotionally intense Dylan mystery to date. There are so many layers making it one of the gnarliest cases he’s had to unravel. At the heart of Dying Art is family; the relationship between parent and child and between siblings. As a parent there was no way I could read Dying Art and remain unaffected.
The Dylan Scott mysteries delve into the dark side of the human psyche. That place we prefer to keep hidden, rarely admitting it exists to ourselves, much less the world at large. Even with these forays into the darker side of human nature the Dylan’s never read as depressing or morbid. Balance is always maintained with Dylan’s family and their hectic but loving life they share.
Each new book in the series builds on the groundwork lain in the previous book giving the characters and their “lives” a rich emotional depth and realism. Essentially, Dylan, his coterie and the mysteries he’s tasked with solving get better with each new entry while maintaining an impressively consistent quality. Personally, I love Dylan, his family and friends and greatly enjoy the time spent with them.
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