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The Skeleton Road

The Skeleton Road

A skeleton is found hidden in a pinnacle on the roof of an old building in Edinburgh by a surveyor.  There is a bullet hole in the skull and it is established that the murder had occurred about eight years previously.  Consequently Detective Inspector Karen Pirie of the Historic Cases Unit is put in charge of the case.

The narrative then switches to Maggie Blake, a professor at Oxford University, who is writing a memoir of her time in Dubrovnik during the Balkan war.  Whilst there she met and fell in love with Mitja, a colonel in the Croatian army.  He had come to Oxford after the war and they had lived together happily for several years but he had gone missing eight years ago.  Maggie assumed he'd returned to Croatia.

We are then introduced to two lawyers based in The Hague who work for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, tracing war criminals.

There is no link between the three groups and their stories are interspersed with Maggie's memoir.

Most of the group found it quite difficult to keep track of the various characters and found the first half of the book tedious.  However once the threads started coming together it improved.  The descriptions of the atrocities made for difficult reading and some found the memoir unconvincing and wondered if it was necessary.  We decided it was a device to inform the reader about the Balkan War.  The general feeling was that it was a clever book with a complex structure but too many sub-plots and a predictable end that seemed rushed.

Review by Anne Strang