Cover image for The distant echo
The distant echo
McDermid, Val.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
12 audio discs (14.5 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
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Compact disc.
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Format :
Audiobook on CD


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XX(1267344.7) Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



The Distant Echo

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 3

Booklist Review

DNA technology has breathed new life into cases long comatose, extending both the long arm of the law and the scope of crime writers. British writer McDermid, who has won the prestigious Anthony, Macavity, and Gold Dagger awards, uses the new technology to resurrect the murder of a teenage girl in St. Andrew's, Scotland, 25 years ago. McDermid's 400-page novel gives equal time to two years: 1978, the year of the murder, and 2003, the year the Cold Case Squad in Fife reopened it. Part 1 focuses on four St. Andrew's University students who, reeling home after a night partying, literally stumble upon Rosie Duff's body in a field. This section starts the nightmare that deepens throughout, as the students become, first, suspects and then targets of hatred when lack of evidence fails to convict them, except in the public mind. Part 2 reopens both the old case and old wounds and adroitly moves between the investigation of Rosie's murder and the investigation of a killer bent on avenging it. McDermid uses the brooding, craggy Scottish landscape evocatively; two scenes of peril, one in the North Sea, the other in a dungeon in St. Andrew's Castle, are especially chilling. McDermid, whose reputation and popularity are growing incrementally with each new book, is very like P. D. James in her masterful mixing of forensic science with brisk plots and in-depth characterization. --Connie Fletcher Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This absorbing psychological novel of revenge shows British author McDermid (A Place of Execution) at the top of her form. In part one, set in 1978 in St. Andrews, Scotland, four drunken male students, friends since childhood, stumble over the raped and stabbed body of a dying woman, Rosie Duff, while staggering home through a snow storm. Though her violent brothers are convinced of their guilt, no one is charged with Rosie's murder. In part two, 25 years later, the police hope new forensic technologies will solve the crime, and suddenly someone is stalking the four men, whose lives have been haunted and their relationships changed by the murder. Two die, supposedly by accident, and the remaining pair, Alex Gilbey and Tom Mackie, must find out what happened before they're killed, too. James Lawson, an assistant chief constable who was a junior cop in 1978, wants to close the case and avenge the death of his admired superior, DI Barney Maclennan, who fell from a cliff during the initial inquiry. When Graham Macfadyen, who claims he's Rosie's illegitimate son and also seeking revenge, contacts Lawson, the investigation takes a startling turn. Only the careful reader will anticipate the stunning conclusion, which makes perfect sense. Outstanding pacing, character and plot development, plus evocative place descriptions, make this another winner. (Oct. 20) Forecast: The author has had an eager audience since A Place of Execution (2000) won a number of prestigious awards, including the Anthony and Macavity. Lacking the gruesome forensic detail of some of her other books, this latest should draw additional readers as well as viewers of the recent TV adaptation of her Gold Dagger-winning novel, The Mermaids Singing (1995). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Winter of 1978, St. Andrews University, Scotland. Four drunken young students on their way home from a party stumble upon local barmaid Rosie Duff, who has been raped, stabbed, and left to die. Unable to save her, the men become suspects in the case but are never formally charged. The stigma and shame of the experience follows these men into their adult lives. About 25 years later, two of the four men have been murdered. The remaining two, Alex Gilbery and the Rev. Tom Mackie, must identify their friends' killer before they become the next victims of this revenge murder spree. Having grown up on the east coast of Scotland, where this story takes place, McDermid (Killing the Shadows) ably depicts St. Andrews. The cast of characters is almost too large to allow the reader to get to know and care about them. Still, McDermid keeps the suspense rising until the end, even after the astute reader will have figured out the killer's identity. Recommended for public libraries.-Jane la Plante, Minot State Univ. Lib., ND (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



1978; St. Andrews, Scotland Four in the morning, the dead of December. Four bleary outlines wavered in the snow flurries that drifted at the beck and call of the snell northeasterly wind whipping across the North Sea from the Urals. The eight stumbling feet of the self-styled Laddies fi' Kirkcaldy traced the familiar path of their shortcut over Hallow Hill to Fife Park, the most modern of the halls of residence attached to St. Andrews University, where their perpetually unmade beds yawned a welcome, lolling tongues of sheets and blankets trailing to the floors. The conversation staggered along lines as habitual as their route. "I'm telling you, Bowie is the king," Sigmund Malkiewicz slurred loudly, his normally impassive face loosened with drink. A few steps behind him, Alex Gilbey yanked the hood of his parka closer to his face and giggled inwardly as he silently mouthed the reply he knew would come. "Bollocks," said Davey Kerr. "Bowie's just a big jessie. Pink Floyd can run rings round Bowie any day of the week. Dark Side of the Moon , that's an epic. Bowie's done nothing to touch that." His long dark curls were loosening under the weight of melted snowflakes and he pushed them back impatiently from his waiflike face. And they were off. Like wizards casting combative spells at each other, Sigmund and Davey threw song titles, lyrics and guitar riffs back and forth in the ritual dance of an argument they'd been having for the past six or seven years. It didn't matter that, these days, the music rattling the windows of their student rooms was more likely to come from the Clash, the Jam or the Skids. Even their nicknames spoke of their early passions. From the very first afternoon they'd congregated in Alex's bedroom after school to listen to his purchase of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars , it had been inevitable that the charismatic Sigmund would be Ziggy, the leper messiah, for eternity. And the others would have to settle for being the Spiders. Alex had become Gilly, in spite of his protestations that it was a jessie nickname for someone who aspired to the burly build of a rugby player. But there was no arguing with the accident of his surname. And none of them had a moment's doubt about the appropriateness of christening the fourth member of their quartet Weird. Because Tom Mackie was weird, make no mistake about it. The tallest in their year, his long gangling limbs even looked like a mutation, matching a personality that delighted in being perverse. That left Davey, loyal to the cause of the Floyd, steadfastly refusing to accept any nickname from the Bowie canon. For a while, he'd been known halfheartedly as Pink, but from the first time they'd all heard "Shine on, You Crazy Diamond" there had been no further debate; Davey was a crazy diamond, right enough, flashing fire in unpredictable directions, edgy and uncomfortable out of the right setting. Diamond soon became Mondo, and Mondo Davey Kerr had remained through the remaining year of high school and on to university. Alex shook his head in quiet amazement. Even through the blur of far too much beer, he wondered at the glue that had held the four of them fast all those years. The very thought provoked a warm glow that kept the vicious cold at bay as he tripped over a raised root smothered under the soft blanket of snow. "Bugger," he grumbled, cannoning into Weird, who gave him a friendly shove that sent Alex sprawling. Flailing to keep his balance, he let his momentum carry him forward and stumbled up the short slope, suddenly exhilarated with the feel of the snow against his flushed skin. As he reached the summit, he hit an unexpected dip that pulled the feet from under him. Alex found himself crashing head over heels to the ground. His fall was broken by something soft. Alex struggled to sit up, pushing against whatever it was he had landed on. Spluttering snow, he wiped his eyes with his tingling fingers, breathing hard through his nose in a bid to clear it of the freezing melt. He glanced around to see what had cushioned his landing just as the heads of his three companions appeared on the hillside to gloat over his farcical calamity. Even in the eerie dimness of snow light, he could see that the bulwark against his fall was no botanical feature. The outline of a human form was unmistakable. The heavy white flakes began to melt as soon as they landed, allowing Alex to see it was a woman, the wet tendrils of her dark hair spread against the snow in Medusa locks. Her skirt was pushed up to her waist, her knee-length black boots looking all the more incongruous against her pale legs. Strange dark patches stained her flesh and the pale blouse that clung to her chest. Alex stared uncomprehendingly for a long moment, then he looked at his hands and saw the same darkness contaminating his own skin. Blood. The realization dawned at the same instant that the snow in his ears melted and allowed him to hear the faint but stertorous wheeze of her breath. Copyright 2003 by Val McDermid Excerpted from The Distant Echo by Val McDermid All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.