A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil
"We could tell you about the bodies. We could tell you their names, where they were found, the state they were in. We could tell you about the suspects too, the evidence, the investigators, join a few dots, even throw you a motive. But what would be the point? You're going to make your own assumptions anyway. After all, you know these people, don't you? You went to school with them. We all did. Granted, that was twenty years ago, but how much does anybody really change? Exactly. If you really knew them then..."
A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil (2006) is Christopher Brookmyre's 10th novel, concerning a Class Reunion under some rather idiosyncratic circumstances. DS Karen Gillespie takes over the investigation of what appears to be a severely bungled double murder committed by two of her former classmates - James "Noodsy" Doon, who has roped in corporate lawyer and fellow alumnus Martin Jackson as his counsel, and Robbie "Turbo" Turner only to discover that the two charred corpses belonged to fellow schoolyard chum, Colin Temple, and Turbo's father, local hardman Johnny Turner.
From then on, the action switches back and forth between their time at school and the case, the true nature of their personalities and the trials and tribulations unfolding in a bitter, acerbic tandem.
- Alpha Bitch: Jojo, complete with a Girl Posse, though initially she's more of a Scrappy, socially speaking.
- Butt Monkey: Noodsy
- The Chew Toy: To the point of Woobie with Noodsy and Elly.
- Everyone Went to School Together: The starting point
- Fair Cop: Karen.
- Irish Priest: Father Wolfe.
- Kids Are Cruel: Most of the school-year backflashes.