Natural Causes (Inspector McLean #1) by James Oswald

Description: When Edinburgh police find the killer of a prominent city elder less than twenty-four hours after the crime, they are justifiably pleased. So the murderer has killed himself; that just saves the time and cost of a trial. But a second murder days later bears haunting similarities to the first, even though once more the murderer swiftly confesses and kills himself.

Detective Inspector Anthony McLean is investigating the discovery of a dead girl, walled up in the basement of an old Edinburgh mansion. She has been brutally murdered, her internal organs removed and placed around her in six preserving jars. The evidence suggests this all happened over sixty years ago, an attempt to re-enact an ancient ceremony that by trapping a demon in the dead girl’s body would supposedly confer immortality on the six men who took one of her organs each.

Opening: He shouldn’t have stopped. It wasn’t his case. He wasn’t even on duty.

Newly appointed as Detective Inspector, Anthony McLean has to put up with derision and hectoring from growly and incompetent Dagwood.

A crime thriller with a supernatural twist. From the back pages:

‘Natural Causes’ first saw light as a short story published by ‘Spinetingler’ magazine in late 2006.

There was a hattip to Ian Rankin on page 432: ‘A bored-looking PC sat on an uncomfortable plastic chair outside, reading an Ian Rankin novel.’

HMP Saughton, Edinburgh

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