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ebook / ISBN-13: 9781408729069

Price: £22

ON SALE: 12th October 2023

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Thriller / Suspense

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‘Another jewel in Val McDermid’s crown’ MICK HERRON

‘A must-read for anyone who enjoys top-knotch crime fiction’ YOURS

‘A chilling, twisting triumph. Past Lying is a classic mystery’ CHRIS WHITAKER

Edinburgh, haunted by the ghosts of its many writers, is also the cold case beat of DCI Karen Pirie. So she shouldn’t be surprised when an author’s manuscript appears to be a blueprint for an actual crime.

Karen can’t ignore the plot’s chilling similarities to the unsolved case of an Edinburgh University student who vanished from her own doorstep. The manuscript seems to be the key to unlocking what happened to Lara Hardie, but there’s a problem: the author died before he finished it.

As Karen digs deeper, she uncovers a spiralling game of betrayal and revenge, where lies are indistinguishable from the truth and with more than one unexpected twist . . .

The Queen of Crime Val McDermid is at the top of her game in her most gripping and fiendishly clever case yet.

Praise for Val McDermid

McDermid is at her considerable best’ GUARDIAN


‘A brilliant novel by a supremo of the genre’ PETER JAMES

‘Outstanding’ SPECTATOR

‘Another masterpiece’ DAVID BALDACCI

‘Sensational. One of Britain’s most accomplished writers’ SUNDAY EXPRESS

‘Wickedly entertaining’ DAILY MAIL


[Pirie] is an appealing character . . . McDermid [has] fun describing the inner workings of the crime-fiction profession, including the creation of stories and the politics, favouritism, resentment, jealousy and score-settling found behind the scenes
Literary Review
Atmospheric . . . The novel-within-a-novel is not a new device, but McDermid uses it to memorable effect in a piece of fiction that vividly recreates the anxious early months of the Covid pandemic
Crime Pick of the Month, Sunday Times
A chilling, twisting triumph. Past Lying is a classic mystery, brilliant, heart-stopping and seamless. No one does it better than Val McDermid
Chris Whitaker
Original, ingenious, and oh so twisty! It left me breathless
Belinda Bauer
[McDermid] ingeniously flips over the rug and examines the pattern in reverse. Karen and her supporting cast are absorbing, providing insight into the restrictions on police work during the pandemic and plenty of Scottish flavour
Fans definitely won't be disappointed
YOU Magazine
A deadly game of revenge. Another twisty thriller
The eerie landscape of Scotland's capital provides the backdrop to a new thriller from McDermid signalling the return of her much-loved detective Karen Pirie
Riveting . . . McDermid keeps the twists coming hard and fast, and she bolsters them with sharp observations about the toll of Covid on the public psyche. This page-turner grips from the outset and doesn't let go
Starred review, Publishers Weekly
A spiralling game of betrayal and revenge. A real tour-de-force
Irish Independent
McDermid plots her novels in masterly style. She holds the reader's attention and provokes our curiosity . . . Her ingenuity commands respect . . . McDermid is deservedly popular and now acclaimed as the Queen of Crime. She is a fine carpenter, her books always well-constructed. She has the confidence to take her time in the telling of her story . . . She is at her ingenious best here
With an intricate plot, authentic dialogue, rich details, and masterly McDermid twists and turns, [Past Lying] will delight Pirie fans, existing and new
Starred review, Library Journal
A complex plot of jealous writers, straying spouses and effective twists. This novel within-a-novel conceit, used to lead the detectives to more concrete evidence, sharply delivers a suitably unsettled atmosphere . . . Affecting
Irish Times
A cracking read
Daily Express
The ingenious plot kept me guessing all the way through. It delivers on every level
Marian Keyes
Ingenious, humane, and all too telling as a reminder of the costs of the pandemic even on its survivors
Past Lying sees McDermid simultaneously at her darkest and most playful. The central plot is a wonderfully tricksy story within a story within a story
Mail on Sunday
Val McDermid's latest offering proves once again why she reigns supreme in the world of crime fiction . . . The intricate and clever plot balances fact and fiction while the heroine Karen Pirie is as captivating as ever. For fans of the series, it's like a reunion with old friends, and for newcomers, it's an invitation to dive into a world of suspense and intrigue where McDermid's storytelling prowess shines through as she skilfully explores themes of betrayal and revenge, leaving readers guessing with every unexpected twist. Simply a must-read for anyone who appreciates top-notch crime fiction
The Queen of Crime shows no sign of abdicating. Past Lying is as complex, as satisfying and as readable as anything she's written - which makes it another jewel in Val McDermid's crown
Mick Herron
This is such a brilliantly conceived plot line that I was squirming with glee as I turned each page. McDermid is in rare form here, and the book never fails to entertain and surprise . . . Past Lying is a wonder to behold. I place it directly next to McDermid's finest works, like A Place of Execution and The Wire in the Blood. Her use of the pandemic is one of the most clever I have seen to date, and the story within a story that constantly references such greats as Agatha Christie and the aforementioned Highsmith makes this a novel that cannot be missed
Pirie is her most sympathetic protagonist and Past Lying one of her most devious and delightful cases
The Times
The narrative takes on the characteristics of nested dolls . . . Head and shoulders above many crime novels
Crime Fiction Lover