Day 35: The End of the Wasp Season

Cover of End of the Wasp Season I have long been a fan of Denise Mina’s gritty mysteries, set in Glasgow. The End of the Wasp Season begins with two seemingly unrelated deaths: in Strathclyde, a crooked ex-millionaire banker named Lars Anderson commits suicide, and a young woman, Sarah Errol, is brutally murdered in a Glasgow suburb. Sarah was home temporarily taking care of her mother’s estate, and the wealthy suburban neighborhood is terrified by the seemingly random attack by hoodlums.

We know from the beginning that Sarah Errol was killed by two boys, but we don’t know exactly what happened or why.

As Detective Inspector Alex Morrow investigates, she runs into an old friend, the murdered woman’s housekeeper. Later Morrow’s friend Kay is accused of stealing from the dead woman’s estate. Kay’s teenaged boys are then arrested for the murder. Alex is convinced that her friend and the boys are innocent and tries to prevent a travesty.

DCI Morrow finds that one of the boys who broke into the home was the son of Lars Anderson, and that he mistakenly believed Sarah was his father’s mistress. As DCI Morrow investigates, she finds out about the boy’s horrible home life. Eventually we are lead to believe that the boys broke into Sarah’s house to scare her, and that the Anderson’s son stood there in horror and watched his companion go berserk. But the evidence is confusing.

I have been impressed by Mina’s work since I read the Garnethill series, her first three books. Her books feature strong women from working class backgrounds and criminal families who are trying to make their way on the right side of the law. Alex herself has a stepbrother who is a crime kingpin, from whom she has been trying to keep her distance.

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