Cover image for Conferences are murder : the fourth Lindsay Gordon mystery
Conferences are murder : the fourth Lindsay Gordon mystery
McDermid, Val.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Union Jack
Publication Information:
Duluth : Spinster Ink, 1999.

Physical Description:
236 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Union Jack. London : Women's Press, 1993.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Lindsay Gordon mystery flavored with the trade union politics of contemporary England.

Author Notes

Val McDermid was born in Scotland on June 4, 1955. She was the first student from a state school in Scotland accepted to read English at St Hilda's College, Oxford. She graduated in 1975 and became a journalist. She wrote her first novel at the age of 21. It didn't get published, but she turned it into a play entitled Like a Happy Ending. It was performed by the Plymouth Theatre Company and was later adapted for BBC radio. Her first book, Report for Murder, was published in 1987. She is the author of the Lindsay Gordon Mystery series, the Kate Brannigan Mystery series, and the Dr. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Mysteries series as well as several stand alone books including The Distant Echo, A Darker Domain, Trick of the Dark and Out of Bounds. The Mermaids Singing won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Politics can make for strange bedfellows and stranger enemies, especially, apparently, trade-union politics in the United Kingdom. Journalists' union conferences nearly a decade apart frame this whodunit in which lesbian journalist and amateur sleuth Lindsay Gordon becomes the prime suspect when homophobe Tom "Union" Jack dies from a fall out of Lindsay's hotel-room window. It is public knowledge that there had been no love lost between the two, so the inquiring journalist digs deeper and deeper in order to clear her name. She uncovers a sinister trail of blackmail and financial malfeasance that leads to a murderer who may have killed years before. McDermid keeps the action moving briskly, for her liberal use of British slang is always readily grasped in context, which doubtless is one of many reasons for the Gordon series' American success. Published in London in 1993 with the title Union Jack, this is the latest Gordon adventure to be exported. Her growing number of fans will welcome it. --Whitney Scott

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1984, after the traumatizing death of her closest friend, amateur sleuth and former reporter Lindsay Gordon left England for California. Nine years later, she finds herself back in her homeland, gathering data for her doctoral thesis. At a journalists' union conference in Sheffield, Lindsay reluctantly reenters the bullying, back-stabbing world of union politics. Shortly after she quarrels with the controversial, homophobic union boss Tom Jack, he tumbles out of her hotel room window, and the anonymous editor of the conference newspaper names Lindsay the murderer. To save her skin, Lindsay and her American girlfriend, Sophie, must unravel intricate union politics to catch the killer, who may have ties to the suspicious death that sparked Lindsay's departure years before. McDermid's (Report for a Murder, etc.) confusing plot is filled with obtuse union rhetoric, and her characters lack the quirks and complexities necessary to elevate them above stereotype. The ending provides a good surprise, but the killer's implausible motive ruins the novel's credibility. This is an unusually weak showing by McDermid, whose The Mermaids Singing won Britain's Golden Dagger for Best Crime Novel of 1995. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved