cover image The Goldenacre

The Goldenacre

Philip Miller. Soho Crime, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64129-427-0

Set in Edinburgh, this outstanding mystery thriller from Miller (The Blue Horse) focuses on two damaged individuals’ compulsive search for truth as their lives disintegrate around them. Thomas Tallis, an art expert assigned to confirm the authenticity of a multimillion-dollar painting, The Goldenacre, has been fired from his London curating job under mysterious circumstances. His wife is filing for divorce, he has no access to the young son he loves, and his father—an MI6 operative—is a disembodied voicemail that never replies. Shona Sandison, an old-school crime reporter for the Edinburgh Post, is all about legwork, except that she’s semi-disabled from an earlier on-assignment attack. While Sandison investigates the murder of a local artist and then a city councilman, the Post’s spiraling demise threatens to make her expendable. Tallis digs deeper into the provenance of The Goldenacre, his path ultimately intersecting with Sandison’s. Together they unearth layers of lies, corruption, and deceit. In a style recalling the brutal dreariness of le Carré, Miller describes a pivotal character as “sharp and severe as a snapped bone.” It’s also an apt description of this biting tale of society in decline. Noir fans won’t want to miss it. Agent: Fiona Brownlee, Brownlee Donald Assoc. (U.K.). (June)