I haven`t read anything by Val McDermid, nor have I watched the popular TV drama adaptations of her Hill/Jordan series "Wire in the blood", so I was intrigued by this full-cast radio dramatisation starring the late Charlotte Coleman.
I`m aware that Kate Brannigan is a popular creation amongst McDermid readers and that this novel is part of a series, so I felt a little uncertain about assessing this as a stand-alone; the cast and production is - to be expected by the BBC who excel at this kind of thing - first class, the story however was a little slight. It has a fair share of first-person narrative, a la Chandler - smart and witty one liners with a native UK twist and certainly updated - mobile phone conversations abound; it also has a distinctly feminine slant similar to stories of that other PI, V.I. Warshawski.
The plot, concerning the investigation into the theft of art treasures from stately homes, takes Brannigan off across Europe, making this atypical of her usual Manchester-set stories; perhaps because of this - a lot of the scenes take place inside cars - I felt it lacked any real sense of place or atmosphere. It also appears to be a truncated version of the novel with an entire sub-plot edited out. There were some not-totally-convincing plot turns, but by-and-large it was an engaging enough diversion for the hour it lasted.
A little underwhelming for me then, but enjoyable enough. The BBC seem to be releasing a number of radio crime-dramas; perhaps other Brannigan stories will feature - I would certainly give them a listen, but this one is a bit weak.