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The Mermaids Singing (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  9,103 ratings  ·  500 reviews
Val McDermid stunned readers and critics alike with the publication of her brilliant thriller, A PLACE OF EXECUTION, which was a finalist for the prestigious Edgar Award. Now, inTHE MERMAIDS SINGING, she continues her trademark ingenuity for suspense, and introduces criminal profiler Tony Hill, who has spent years exploring the psyches of madmen. But now he's become one of ...more
Paperback, 364 pages
Published June 17th 2002 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1995)
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieAngels & Demons by Dan BrownRebecca by Daphne du MaurierIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Best Crime & Mystery Books
185th out of 4,765 books — 10,799 voters
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37th out of 796 books — 856 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tracey
May 25, 2010 Tracey rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone that loves BBC "Wire in the Blood" series
Shelves: mystery, kook
This was fantastic. It had a little bit of this

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and a little bit of that

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and lets not forget this

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It was nice to see men being the victims for once. It was disturbing at times, and maybe that was why I loved it.
Moira Russell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
aPriL eVoLvEs
Well.

Many sensitive types should not read this novel.

First, there is lots of explicit torture. On the other hand, it's not gratuitous, in my opinion. However, it keeps on coming. As someone who reads a GREAT deal, of course I've come across historical and explicit descriptions of torture before. The Spanish Inquisition truly used incredibly awful devices of torture in real life, and the bad guy in this book, a serial killer of young men, builds such devices to use in his murders, having studie
...more
Jean Coldwell
The Mermaids Singing is Val McDermid’s first in a series of Tony Hill and Carol Jordan novels, and I must confess that I have mixed feelings about this one. It is certainly well written and is, without a doubt, a fascinating combination of police procedural and psychological thriller.

Men are being murdered in the fictional city of Bradfield, England, and their mutilated bodies are being dumped in the Temple Fields area where the gay bars are located. After the third body is found, Assistant Chi
...more
Sylvia
After reading Beneath the Bleeding I knew I had to consume as many of these books as possible, so I continued onto The Mermaids Singing and finished it around 4 o' clock in the morning, having been so engrossed I completely lost all sense of time.

McDermid has a strong grasp of human psychology and her characters are realistic, down-to-earth and with all the gritty, dirty bits that make up a human life. Each and every character seems to breathe from the page, whether they're in the book for two
...more
Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors)


Oh.! So this is how Tony Hill met Carol Jordan..! Having read the sequels in the series before reading the first ones,I was quite impressed by the chemistry the duo shared,and it seems a pleasant thing to read about their first meeting after a long while. There was a time when all I was interested in was psychological thrillers.. My days were divided between Patricia Cornwell and Keith Ablow and Val McDermid and Mo Hayder.. Day in and day out with serial killers.. Lots of coffee and chips.. Gett
...more
Neide Parafitas
Sem dúvida um livro que mexeu comigo, tal era o horror descrito nas mais variadas situações em que o assassino colocava as suas vítimas!

Numa única frase... HORRIVELMENTE BRILHANTE!!

;)
Maria João Fernandes
"Como é óbvio, a descoberta de que se tem um talento natural para alguma coisa não significa necessariamente que devamos seguir cegamente esse caminho."

Val McDermid deve ter pensado o oposto desta citação do seu livro, seguindo assim o caminho do seu talento natural, a escrita. Mas terá ela esse talento? Já há muito tempo que tinha curiosidade em conhecer a autora, tão aclamada no género policial. Infelizmente, o seu primeiro livro da série de Tony Hill e Carol Jordan revelou-se uma desilusão tã
...more
Emma Sea
I probably should have appreciated this more than I did. The problem is it's 20+ years old, and I'm coming to it after a lifetime's exposure to crime dramas and novels. I'm not sure there's anything left for McDermid to say in this one that I haven't heard before. And again, this is a vintage thing, but when Carol calls the murderer, (view spoiler) ...more
Mike Gabor
This is the book which introduced Tony Hill and Carol Jordan. Four men are brutaly slain. Ther tortured and mangled bodies are left in the gay community. At first the police are reluctant to label the muders as a serial killing however, as the bodies begin to pile up they are forced to call in profiler Tony Hill. He teams up with DI Carol Jordan and attempts to get to the bottom of these killings.

I enjoyed this book immensely however, be warned that the murders are quite violent and the author d
...more
stormhawk
Every now and again you start reading a mystery that sneaks up on you and punches you in the gut, leaving you gasping for air. The Mermaids Singing is exactly that kind of a novel. Tony Hill, a psychologist specializing in serial killers gets called into three ongoing investigations that the police are resisting linking to one killer.

The result is an exciting read, one that keeps you awake, both because of the stark horror of the killer's desire, but also because you cannot put the book down. E
...more
Bill
There were a couple of visitors to my site who had recommended this one. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

The serial killer sub-genre has certainly been watered down over the years, so I usually take a grain of salt before trying a new one, half-expecting the same old cliches. Almost always I can find some bit of dialogue or a lucky break in a case that makes me roll my eyes but I could find nothing like that in this tale.

This is an entirely believable story, with entirely believable characters
...more
Beth
Oh, yuck, this book.

I have quite a strong stomach. It's not that impressive or anything, but I'm not incredibly easily shocked. This book, however, was more than I could bear. I like books and TV that take a look at the darker side of life, but the torture scenes were unneccessary and extremely gratuitous (sp?). It seemed like McDermid wrote it to shock. The killer lacked nuances and did not interest me in the slightest; s/he may as well have had a mustache to twiddle. There was no depth to thei
...more
Lightreads
The books on which Wire in the Blood is based. British clinical psychologist teams up with copper to profile serial killers. All expected elements present and accounted for – hostile police brass, sexual "tension," personal issues.

Yawn. And that's pretty impressive, considering books featuring a maladjusted trouble-magnet who does criminal profiling are a huge weakness of mine. But I don't think my emotional needle so much as quivered, except for occasional flickers of annoyed disgust at the vi
...more
Ana
“O Canto das Sereias” de Val McDermid, foi publicado originalmente em 1995.
É um livro com uma construção narrativa muito interessante. Um livro tenso e emocionante, com detalhes requintados de um sadismo atroz.
“O Canto das Sereias” não é um livro confortável para ler.
É um bom livro policial, apesar de não ser excelente...
Matt
Choosing to tackle a new series, I was drawn to Val McDermid and the premise behind it. Pairing a police detective and a criminal psychologist is by no means new, but the British angle was a fresh approach for me and one that seems to work well. McDermid takes the reader down the path of numerous sub-plots while presenting a fascinating main tale to capture the attention of all who dare to explore. When men are found murdered in predominantly gay hangouts, the police are baffled as to where they ...more
Hazel McHaffie
I went to hear Val McDermid speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year, so I thought I ought to dip into her writing before too long a time elapsed. My chance came when I found The Mermaids Singing in a secondhand bookshop on Pitlochry railway station.
It's very well written, tight, tense, balanced and certainly had the pages turning for me. The bodies of four young men are found brutally tortured and mutilated. The clinical psychologist brought in to profile the killer is h
...more
David
Very good. Bigoted coppers. Murder of men in gay areas. It has it all, and the literary introduction of Tony Hill and Coral Jordan.
the premise of the story is good, someone is murdering and torturing young men and dumping their bodies in area frequented by gay men. The local police force won't/don't want to use the serial killer words. Till their head decides to bring Hill. Then it snowballs when the fourth body is copper.
One of the coppers leading the investigation is very old-fashioned in his
...more
Max Rudenko
After I've finished reading this novel I had some conflicting and contradictory feelings and thoughts. Having pondered over them for a while now, I'm ready to share the following thoughts.
Overall I liked this book. It is rather good police thriller, especially it being a first work in this series. However, there were some annoying problems. First of all, it's very unevenly paced. The story starts very slowly and drags for the first three quarters almost without any development but then wraps up
...more
Eadie
This was a well written mystery with a great cast of characters that was gripping from the opening line. The chapters alternate between the point of view of the killer and the official investigation which keeps the pages turning until the very end. Even though the murders scenes were very graphic, I do look forward to reading the 2nd book in this series.
Paula Cappa
This is not a badly written book, but I had to stop reading it because of the vile nature of the content. A serial killer performing ritualistic torture, genital mutilations, branding, dislocating limbs, disembowelment, etc. using medieval tools against the gay community. This is not entertaining in my opinion and the murder mystery part was not all that compelling. I skipped ahead to the ending to confirm who I thought was the killer and was right. So, it's fairly predictable, which I would not ...more
Sheila Beaumont
The first in Val McDermid's Tony Hill-Carol Jordan series, this is a compelling, ingenious, complex, creepy and frightening thriller. McDermid really knows how to craft a story that will keep the reader turning the pages. Warning: Many of the chapters are journal entries by the killer, who is undoubtedly one of the most twisted, depraved, sadistic, evil psychopaths in fiction. I admit that there were some passages so graphic that I skimmed them. The two main characters investigating the case are ...more
Gail
Agatha Christie meets a sadistic serial killer. Taking place in the north of England, Tony Hill is a profiler and Carol Jordan is a police lieutenant in a very sexist police department. They are asked to work together on a series of murders, where the victims seem to be gay and the murders involve torture with sexual overtones. The narrative moves between the killer's diary, Tony's perspective and Carol's. Wonderfully well written, gruesome and an excellent mystery. The first outing in a series ...more
Katya
Hot damn do I love Val McDermid's books.

If "The Skeleton Road" gave me a donkey kick in the feels, then this one makes me wanna binge-read all the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan books I can get my grubby little hands on. (Though I'd like to back-track and read the books preceding "The Skeleton Road." Not to mention McDermid's retelling of "Northanger Abbey," which is, no shit, my favourite Austen book.)

I don't know how to tell you why I loved "The Mermaids Singing" so much without spoiling the plot
...more
Naomi
I can remember watching the film version of this book before I know that this was a book series and that it was written by Val McDermid, one of my favorite British authors. At the time, I thought the movie was extremely creepy to say the least. When I put two and two together, I thought that maybe the film took liberties and made the movie more graphic than the book. I was wrong. This book is just as creepy as the movie. This book is an example of why I love Val McDermid's writing so much.
Trace
fantastic great storyline no lovey dovey romance crap! I finished this in record time, well to some it wouldn't be classed as record time but for me, trust me on this, this was one book I didn't want to put down! I thought I knew who the killer was and I am usually right but alas I was wrong way wrong!!! Val McDermid is going on my list of best authors and I can't wait to read more by her!!
Tahmeena
Very violent and gory. Not for the squeamish!!!

I watched the TV show a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. I had been meaning to read the novels for a while now and finally got around to it a couple of months ago. The story is almost identical to the first episode of the show. Since I already knew the story, the suspense part was lost on me. However, it was a really good read even with the suspense factor out.

I enjoyed reading about the slightly "different" version of Tony Hill in the
...more
Filipe Dias
Há algum tempo que me falavam deste livro, como sendo um livro fantástico. Finalmente tive oportunidade de ler.
Ao chegar ao final do livro pude constatar que a trama em nada se identifica com o nome do livro. Na verdade não percebi mesmo a associação.
Mas vamos à trama em si.
Vários inspectores da polícia vêem-se confrontados com homicídios brutais, de uma violência extrema, com grande dose de tortura doentia. Uma particularidade é que as vítimas são todas achadas em zonas de conhecidas práticas h
...more
Nikki
If you have any problem with triggers relating to torture, violence, suicide or rape, I don't suggest you read this book. The violence is graphic, lovingly detailed, and given to you from the point of view of the person carrying out the torture. If you're squeamish, there's also graphic descriptions of the mutilated bodies, etc. The only reason I continued reading this book was because I think I'm going to have to make reference to it in my essay -- if I wasn't planning on that, I would have giv ...more
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5672
Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cart
...more
More about Val McDermid...

Other Books in the Series

Tony Hill & Carol Jordan (9 books)
  • The Wire In The Blood (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #2)
  • The Last Temptation (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #3)
  • The Torment of Others (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #4)
  • Beneath The Bleeding (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #5)
  • Fever of the Bone (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #6)
  • The Retribution (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #7)
  • Cross and Burn (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #8)
  • Splinter the Silence (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #9)
The Wire In The Blood (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #2) A Place of Execution Fever of the Bone (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #6) The Distant Echo The Torment of Others (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #4)

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“It's only hunting you that keeps me from being you.” 1 likes
“You know, I've often wondered. It's pretty clear what they were up to in Sodom, but what do you suppose the sin of Gomorrah was?' Carol asked.” 1 likes
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