Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Place of Execution” as Want to Read:
A Place of Execution
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Place of Execution

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  8,882 ratings  ·  677 reviews
Winter 1963: two children have disappeared in Manchester; the murderous careers of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady have begun. On a freezing day in December, another child goes missing: 13-year-old Alison Carter vanishes from the isolated Derbyshire hamlet of Scardale. For the young George Bennett it is the beginning of his most difficult and harrowing case: a murder with no bo ...more
Kindle Edition, 486 pages
Published (first published June 7th 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Place of Execution, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Place of Execution

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,882 ratings  ·  677 reviews

Sort order
Feb 02, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book got rave reviews (judging from the newspaper blurbs on the cover), was given five stars by a lot of goodreads readers, and was highly recommended by a friend of mine. I found it mostly irritating on almost every level. It was very long (in the neighborhood of Moby Dick). It was written with no particular style, with characters who all sounded alike. It was repetitive. The author had an uncanny ability to describe non-dramatic scenes at length while skipping the ones that would have had ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scardale is a secluded village consisting of a manor house with eight cottages surrounding the village green. The squire owns the land, the cottages, and the livestock. The residents are closely related and there are only three family names: the Carters, the Crowthers, and the Lomases.

Alison Carter, 13, is missing and DI George Bennett and DS Tommy Clough are the lead investigators in the search for her. Days, weeks, and months go by. They have some evidence and some forensics, but it’s a largel

3.5 stars

This book is divided into two parts. In the first section, set in the early 1960s, a teenage girl disappears from a small English village and the police investigate. In the second section, set in 1998, a reporter writes a book about the mid-century incident.

In 1963, the tiny hamlet of Scardale in Derbyshire resembles a feudal town. The owner of the manor house, who functions as 'Lord of the Manor', controls the land on which Scardale residents farm and raise livestock. There are only a
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime fiction lovers
Shelves: crimefiction
An incredible stand-alone volume from Val McDermid. I found this novel almost impossible to put down (but one has to make tea and sleep, you know). A very cleverly-framed text, you don't quite know where you're at with this murder mystery. What at first looks like a rather neat and tidy investigation with no (or minimal) loose ends, turns out to be something else entirely.

Murder in a small, traditional English country town set in both the 1960s and modern day. And there's always a cup of tea to
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a crime fan, the name Val McDermid, always seems to have been on the periphery of my vision – one of those authors you really need to read; perhaps doubly so with my recent love of Tartan Noir and the many great Scottish crime novelists appearing, while she was one of the very originals. As such, I decided that, this year, I would finally get around to trying her work and, “A Place of Execution,” a stand-alone, usually regarded as her best work, seemed a good place to start. Winner of the Los ...more
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hannah by: Kim
Shelves: 2011-reads, mysteries
Rating Clarification: 4.5 Stars

A truely outstanding murder mystery, and one I would recommend to any fan of the genre. More then just a straightforward whodunnit, McDermid intricately explored the bonds that held an insular agricultural community together in early 1960's northern England. She fully captured the sense of time (almost too much so with her never-ending references to tea and cigarette usage), and the sense of desperation, anguish and helplessness that would come to any parent of a m
May 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
My re-read of this novel confirmed that it deserves the four stars I originally gave it. I first read A Place of Execution when it was initially published in 1999. As I don't generally re-read crime fiction novels (I make an exception for the novels of Dorothy L Sayers!), I haven't re-visited it since. The advantage in re-reading the novel after such a long break is that I had forgotten a lot of details of the plot, so it almost felt like a first time read.

There is no doubt that this is one of
Liz Barnsley
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Part of my 2019 "returning to old favourites" I'd forgotten just how utterly clever, compelling and brilliantly plotted this was.

Lots of authors have attempted this type of unpredictable read since but this is the masterclass. Of course I knew what was coming this time which meant I read it in a whole new light and took something completely different away from it this time round.

One of Val's best. Still. If you somehow missed it I'd recommend reading it. Then reading it again a little later.

Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has been in my TBR group since at least 2011. It had a Borders sticker on it where I purchased it and Borders went out of business in 2011. I purchased it due to the reviews it had received and the claims it was one of the best books written by Val McDermid at that time.

Since many have written synopsis of the plot, I will tell what I liked about the book and what I didn't care much for.

First, will mention what I didn't like about the book. It was 480 pages and I felt it could have bee
Rick Soper
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came to Val McDermid through the back door of the BBC. You see I was flipping through channels one night and came upon the BBC series Wire In The Blood with Robson Green and I was just fascinated. I became a huge fan of that show because the BBC just knows how to do crime dramas a whole lot better than their American counterparts, Robson Green is a great actor, and at the heart of the show there were great stories being told. Little did I know at the time, that was because the entire series wa ...more
Jill Hutchinson
I don't know if I ever met author Val McDermid if I would bop her over the head or shake her hand!!!! Here is a good police procedural, moving along at a nice pace with good character development and an interesting story........and then, the author turns you upside down with a twist in the last third of the book that you did not see coming (or at least I didn't)and it changes all that went before. And what a twist it is which of course I will not reveal here. The story takes place in an isolated ...more
Sheila Myers
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
An interesting mystery. Unlike many mystery novels, this one includes both the crime and police work, followed chapters covering the court case so readers discover what happens to the suspect. Yet that doesn't end the story, as the third section presents a twist to everything read to that point. I enjoyed the way Val McDermid developed the characters in such a way that they seem like real people.
Sep 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I read a lot of mystery series, and I had forgotten how refreshing it can be to read a stand-alone crime novel --especially a well-crafted one.

When an author doesn't have to worry about introducing a main character as someone the readers will want to love and follow, she's free to do some extraordinary things with the plot.

As a result, we also see Detective Inspector George Bennett in a different light than series detectives.

We may not know what he buys when he goes shopping or what record he pl
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Now this is what I call a mystery. Absolutely loved it. I will definitely read more of Val McDermid. 5☆
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorites
A Place of Execution by Val McDermid.

In an out of the way village of Scardale a 13 year old girl has gone missing. A call from her frantic mother, Ruth Hawkin, reporting that Alison had not arrived home after taking their dog for his usual walk. The young (still in his 20's) Detective Inspector George Bennett receives word of the missing girl just as he was preparing to return home. Shortly he's on his way to the Hawkin's home in Scardale to speak with Alison's mother and step-father.

This manhun
Marnie  Krüger
I get why this book took away so many awards!

It touch a subject close to hearts of many and ghosts form the past we want to correct in a way we never be able to.
Val McDermid has a flare for writing things into you imagination, making it so real you can't help but picture yourself in a dire situation. This book held nothing less; at times it was a bit repetitive and a lot predictable; but never the less it was an on the edge kind of story that made you want to know where this is all going.

This bo
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Boring boring boring. And tedious.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly disturbing page-turner, one of the best by Ms McDermid.
Deb Jones
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While with some reservation I've enjoyed reading some of McDermid's Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, I'd never found myself thinking it was bestseller stuff. However, in A Place of Execution, I found myself spellbound with characters, setting and plot.

A Place of Execution is a stand-alone book, not one of the Hill/Jordan series. This police procedural and psychological thriller is character-driven with an intricately woven plot from beginning to end.

One of my "tests" to help me decide how much I'
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Place Of Execution
by Val McDermid

My dad (who reads two, maybe three books a week) told me that this was the best mystery he’d read in a long time. With an endorsement like that, who was I to argue? He tossed the book my way and in no time, I was hooked.

The time is 1963 and the setting is one of the many things about this long, tangled thriller that enthralled me. Welcome to the fictitious English village of Scardale; a remote farming community with families so inter-related that by the time
I wanted to like this more than I did.

A girl goes missing in a small, close-knit, inter-related village in 1960s England. The police are hindered by the villager’s wariness of outsiders, but when the breakthrough comes, the case reaches an incomplete conclusion. Three decades later, a journalist is writing a book about the disappearance and the policeman in charge. New evidence is stumbled across, and the story is finally told in its entirety. The initial twist is expected, although the full twi
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well written novel that keeps you gripped to the very end.
Although the story content is quite disturbing it hooked me and I was unable to put the book down.
This was my first Val McDermid book and after this plan to read more.
Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
Kiedy po raz pierwszy wydano „Miejsce egzekucji” w 1999 roku, powieść zrobiła niemałą furorę pośród czytelników i krytyków. Zdobyła liczne nagrody gatunkowe oraz podbiła listy bestsellerów, aż w końcu została okrzyknięta jednym z najważniejszych kryminałów roku według New York Timesa. Od tamtej pory w świecie literatury kryminalnej przepłynęło wiele wody, pojawiło się mnóstwo podobnych motywów, identyczne wątki wykorzystano nie raz i nie dwa w kulturze popularnej. Dzisiaj, niemal dwadzieścia lat ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Действие, което се развива в средата на ХХ век със съответния стил. Подробен, незахаросан и с изводи, които читателят да си вади сам. Определено съм впечатлена от авторката и ще търся и другите ѝ романи!
Joseph - Relax And Read Reviews
This book will stay with me for a long time. There's no easy way to describe how much I enjoyed reading it and how deep into the story I felt myself immersing. I read it slowly so as to savour each chapter.

1998. Catherine Heathcote is a journalist writing a book about a 35-year-old mystery. She is hoping to persuade retired Chief Inspector George Bennett to open up about the case after a long silence.

It's December 1963 and a mother frantically calls the police, reporting her thirteen-year-old da
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimepieces
Review: Val McDermid – A Place of Execution
December 22, 2011 by Sarah | Edit

When I gave Val McDermid’s The Retribution a somewhat lukewarm review recently, two fellow reviewers urged me to try instead A Place of Execution a standalone novel set in Derbyshire. I think two recommendations from people whose opinions I trust is enough to convince me, so I bought the book on Amazon and started reading it as soon as it arrived. What appealed to me was the background to the book. I grew up in south Ma
Lisa Lilly
This book made me late to my office almost every day of the 3 days it took to read it. Newly-promoted investigator George Bennett is the lead on the case of a girl missing (perhaps dead) from her isolated and insular small town in England where nearly everyone is related to one another. The townspeople want justice, but they harbor a deep mistrust of outsiders, especially the police. The story is told through several viewpoints, each one fascinating. I found the characters intriguing and enjoyed ...more
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Co to był za świetnie skonstruowany kryminał! Wszystko w tej powieści było idealnie dopracowane, od bohaterów po fabułę i zagadkę kryminalną. Pomimo, że gdzieś mi po głowie kołatała myśl jakby to się mogło skończyć to w ogólnym rozrachunku było to dla mnie zaskoczenie. I co najważniejsze było to sensowne i prawdziwe! Pomimo, że akcja nie leci na łeb na szyję (przynajmniej na początku) to trzyma w napięciu do ostatnich stron :)
Encarni Prados
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una muy buena novela dividida en dos partes bien diferenciadas por la forma de relatar la historia, por la época y por el cambio de personajes. Ha sido uno de esos libros que hacen que, mientras lees, lo vayas visualizando como si estuvieras viendo una buena serie de TV. Personajes bien trazados, a unos los ves venir, otros te dan una sorpresa y no puedo decir mucho más para no desvelar nada, solo puedo recomendarlo.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Very enjoyable read. Another fantastic Val McDermid suspense thriller. Set orginally in 1963 with murder of a 13 year old school girl and It's exciting conclusion in the late 1990's. Some of the slang and wording slowed me down from time to time. Another do not miss thriller !!!!!! Four stars out of a possible five stars.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Wrong publishing date 3 85 Feb 13, 2014 01:16PM  
Do you agree with the decision Catherine and Tommy made? 1 39 Oct 10, 2012 04:24PM  
  • The Ice House
  • Good Morning, Midnight (Dalziel & Pascoe, #21)
  • Black Dog (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #1)
  • In a Dry Season (Inspector Banks, #10)
  • River of Darkness (John Madden, #1)
  • The Murders of Mrs. Austin and Mrs. Beale (Lloyd & Hill, #4)
  • The Marx Sisters (Brock & Kolla, #1)
  • Bloodhounds (Peter Diamond, #4)
  • Judas Child
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
“They think of policemen as they do of Labradors – noble, loyal, good with children, man’s protector and friend. In” 1 likes
More quotes…