"Double Mortice" by Bill Daly is his second outing for Detective Chief Inspector Charlie Anderson, a man who in the first book in the series returned from the brink of retirement to take up the chance of a long-awaited promotion, much to the despair of his long-suffering wife, who had thought years of late nights at the office and missed meals were coming to an end.
What is especially effective about Bill Daly's approach to Tartan Noir is that we don't simply see the world through the eyes of the leading police officer, but also through the eyes of characters who are, or might be, on the wrong side of the law. The result of this approach to storytelling is a nicely rounded picture of modern Glasgow and a plot that develops in a particularly intriguing way. "Double Mortice" is not by any means a simple "whodunit". For a start, it's not at all clear what it is that's been done, and the mystery only deepens as the author's superbly artful misdirection comes increasingly into play. The reader is left guessing right to the very end, and the conclusion of the book is both satisfying and surprising.
The story revolves around successful Glasgow lawyer Michael Gibson, a man who has accrued all the trappings of his high-flying career, including an apartment in a prestigious new development and an attractive young mistress. But behind the scenes the wheels are coming off. His mistress is demanding he divorces his wife, but his wife knows things about him he'd prefer no-one else knows. Meanwhile his alcohol consumption is steadily increasing and his performance at work is beginning to suffer. Worse still, a psychopath who vowed revenge after Gibson failed to defend him effectively some years previously has been released from prison.
Against this background Gibson turns to DCI Charlie Anderson when his wife disappears, and Anderson has to help unravel fact from fantasy before Gibson completes his own mental unravelling. What has become of Anne Gibson? Have the ghosts from Michael Gibson's past returned to haunt him and his family, and why do they have such a hold over him? Or is the explanation more mundane? And then the bodies begin to turn up, and Charlie Anderson finds himself in a race against time to uncover what has really been going on before others are caught up in the violence.