The Bone Yard (Quintilian Dalrymple.)

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9780312202804: The Bone Yard (Quintilian Dalrymple.)

New Year's Eve 2021. The one night of the year when the guards are less vigilant. The perfect time for murder.

Welcome to twenty-first-century Edinburgh: an oppressive, crime-free independent city state, run by the Council of City Guardians. New Labour has failed, and in the disastrous break-up of Britain, city states have formed fiefdoms, walling themselves off from other warring parts. In the "perfect" city republic of Edinburgh, electricity, food, and even sex are rationed. Television, private cars, and cigarettes are banned, and crime is a distant memory.

But when the mutilated body of a man is found, subversive, blues-haunted private investigator Quintilian Dalrymple and his side-kick Davie are put back on the case. They must uncover the significance of the killer's eerie calling card-a blues cassette planted inside the victims' bodies. What is the connection between these tapes and a small blue tablet that causes a massive increase in alertness and sexual potency? Why does the Medical Directorate try to cover up the murder of an old man? Quint knows the solution-and the killer's identity-lies somewhere in the Bone Yard, if he can ever figure out what the Bone Yard is...

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Review:

The Bone Yard is a dystopian thriller set in Edinburgh during the harsh winter of 2021. Rogue detective Quintilian Dalrymple, a former bureaucrat who left his high-ranking job to work for the parks service and solve mysteries on the side, sets about catching a serial killer with a peculiar signature. The killer bites out the victim's throat, cuts out the tongue, removes the genitals, and leaves in the cavity a cassette of the electric blues of Clapton, Hendrix, and others. In the allegedly crime-free Edinburgh city-state (which is expressly modeled on Plato's Republic, but in practice resembles every cliché of pre-1990 Eastern Bloc regimes), blues music is contraband. So are casual sex, monogamy, fattening foods, all drugs, and more-than-weekly showers. So why does the killer leave cryptic messages via electric blues?

Johnston won Britain's John Creasey Award for best first crime novel with 1999's Body Politic, and in The Bone Yard he possibly takes for granted that his readers already know and care about Dalrymple and his cohorts. Character development is scanty, so the playful rivalry between Dalrymple and sidekick Davie, for example, is mostly conveyed through edginess and four-letter words. Their terseness is juxtaposed against the obfuscatory language of the council, the "iron Boy Scouts" who gradually become implicated in the four grisly murders and a related scheme. The serial murderer's infelicitous musical clues lead Dalrymple to discover a dangerous drug remarkably like Viagra, which is being manufactured illegally within the Edinburgh city-state. Dalrymple travels to a zoo, a slaughterhouse, and a foul fishing boat to find the lab, which may be tied to the mysterious "Bone Yard" that the council shrouds in top-level security and secrecy. In addition, a nubile exotic dancer meets an untimely end, leading the two detectives and Dalrymple's tough ex-girlfriend Katharine to the Three Graces sex club, which caters to Edinburgh's rich and burgeoning tourist population. Readers trolling for mysteries set in exciting locales may thus be gratified by The Bone Yard, which is a blend of 1984 (though with inferior prose), The China Syndrome, and Showgirls. The plot moves briskly through dark terrain, both physically and philosophically. It's got a relentlessly downbeat tenor, but Johnston intricately ties together the threads of the four murder victims and their psychopathic killer, and the secret of the Bone Yard. --Kathi Inman Berens

About the Author:

Paul Johnston was born in Edinburgh, in 1957. He now divides his time between a small Greek island and the United Kingdom. The Bone Yard features characters from his first novel, Body Politic, which won the CWA John Creasey Award for best first crime novel.

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Paul Johnston
Published by Minotaur Books (2000)
ISBN 10: 0312202806 ISBN 13: 9780312202804
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
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Book Description Minotaur Books, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0312202806

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