I’ve read a great many of Val McDermid’s mysteries with considerable but not unqualified enjoyment. What I like best about her writing is her ability to create settings with full sensory detail and to convey plausible everyday human relationships between characters. What I like least are serial killers as the focus of plot. (I stopped reading Patricia Cornwell years ago because she seemed to focus all of her books on serial killers–– a boring device for authors who cannot otherwise come up with a convincing plot!)
Because I enjoy well-written mysteries, classic and modern literature, and history, I found Val McDermid’s The Grave Tattoo to be superior to McDermid’s more conventional and (perhaps consequently) more popular mysteries. Her weaving together of the life and work of William Wordsworth with the always fascinating history of the Bounty mutineers and the geography, lifestyle, and economy of England’s Lake District seems inspired to me and altogether believable.