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51nrtyja4al-_sy346_I love reading crime fiction. I especially love reading crime fiction set in Scotland so I began reading Candles and Roses by Alex Walters with a critical approach.

A young couple stumble across a barely buried body in a local beauty spot with vases of roses and candles arranged around the grave. It falls upon DI Alec McKay to investigate the murder, a policeman who lost his own daughter to suicide several years before. Before long more bodies are discovered in very different places geographically, but with the same grave decoration as before. Meanwhile, the young girl who discovered the first body starts to wonder if a young woman who went missing a year before might also be a victim of the killer and decides to take matters into her own hand.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s setting in and around the Black Isle and Inverness was vividly drawn by the author. The characters were believable and sympathetic. Yes, perhaps we have had a lot of cops with personal problems before, but humans have baggage and I don’t suppose any of us reaches our middle years without things in our past that effect the way we deal with the present. I particularly liked the female characters. Walters described them as ‘people’ and made little difference between the expectations of them when compared to their male colleagues.

I enjoyed how the author handled the local voice. Rather than weigh the speech down with thick and heavy dialect, he sprinkles the odd Scottishism which is enough to remind us of where we are.

I won’t spoil the book by telling you the ending, but it left a very interesting question mark over events that I particularly liked. Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.