Cold In The Earth by Aline Templeton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This novel introduces DI Marjorie Fleming. Daughter of a now-retired police legend, Fleming struggles to balance her work life with her life as a wife and mother. She also keeps hoping, in vain, for her father's approval. When the body of a missing woman is unearthed during the excavation of a burial pit for slaughtered cattle, Marjorie has to determine whether she was the victim of homicide or accident, and why the body was secretly buried. The land on which the body is found belongs to the Masons, breeders of rare cattle. The Masons are legendary for their beyond the pale tempers and perhaps even madness which makes Fleming's investigation even harder. The novel is set in a corner of Scotland, during the outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease. One of Fleming's jobs is to enforce the quarantine and herd-slaughter rules, which pits her against her neighbors as well as her own family's livelihood.
I enjoyed this novel although the depiction of the Masons seemed a bit over-the-top. One the other hand, Fleming's portrayal of a professional, extremely competent detective struggling to balance the demands of all her responsibilities was spot on. I will be reading more.
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