Wednesday, February 28, 2024

A Long Time Dead by J.M. Dalgliesh

First Line: Were it not for the cool breeze drifting in off Loch Dunvegan, she could have been dancing on a beach in the Mediterranean, the crushed white coral beneath her feet giving off an iridescent sheen in the moonlight.
Detective Inspector Duncan McAdam is persona non grata in Glasgow, and he finds himself sent to the Isle of Skye to work on the investigation into the death of Isla Matheson, a young woman who disappeared twenty years ago. McAdam isn't happy to return to the place where he grew up, so he wants to bring the investigation to its conclusion as quickly as possible.

The officer in charge doesn't want him there either, so McAdam is relegated to working on interviewing the people who knew Isla. While the main part of the task force concentrates on finding a stranger who killed Isla while traveling through the area, McAdam and the men he's working with believe that the killer is a local-- even though no one in the community is saying much.


The major reason why I picked up A Long Time Dead was due to its setting: the Isle of Skye in Scotland. I've spent a few weeks there and wanted a return visit even though it would only be through the pages of a book. As far as the setting goes, this book is a gold mine. I could follow McAdam all around the island, recognizing all sorts of landmarks (even a grocery store that I shopped in in Portree). 

The main character, D.I. Duncan McAdam, is on suspension from the Glasgow Police. He's been thrown out by his girlfriend, and as far as the police force goes, he's being passed around like a bad smell. Even his sister, who lives on Skye, isn't all that happy with him. Fortunately, he works well with the Portree police officers he's assigned to work with, and he gradually feels more comfortable in the area he left so many years ago.

While the setting and characterization were strong points for me, the mystery was not. Everything fell into place for me when one small item was revealed about one of the characters. Although that was disappointing, I will be reading more in the series because I know I want to return to Skye.

A Long Time Dead by J.M. Dalgliesh
Hamilton Press © 2023
eBook, 356 pages
Police Procedural, #1 Misty Isle mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.  


  1. The setting for this one really appeals to me too, Cathy. I could spend some literary time in Skye, too. But if the mystery itself doesn't keep moving forward, it can be hard to stay invested in a story. Hopefully that part of the next story will draw you in more.

    1. The mystery wasn't that bad; it was just that "the light bulb" went off way too early. I still liked finding out how long it would take the coppers to figure it all out.

  2. Still sounds like the perfect series for you because of the pleasant memories it revives. And that cover is spectacular. Seems like book cover art just keeps getting better and better.

    1. I really loved my virtual visit. Skye is one of my favorite places.

  3. Between the vicarious travel and the police procedural, this title belongs on my list.


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