McLean has been shunted into an unfulfilling managerial role when his colleague Anya Renfrew disappears. Anya was, it transpires, a woman with a tangled private life. And when her burnt-out car is discovered in an area rife with sinister folklore (dating back to the cannibalistic Sawney Bean clan), we’re soon in typically scarifying Oswald territory.
Oswald’s detectives are professionals. There’s less room for the kind of token office politics, petty disputes, and jostling coppers angling for promotion that fill the pages of other crime writers. But while this adds authenticity, especially in the era of the formica-bland Police Scotland national constabulary, it can make for some rather flat dialogue between characters. There is none of the deadpan humour that sets the likes of Ian Rankin or Quintin Jardine apart.