Blog Tour: Not the Deaths Imagined, Anne Pettigrew

Book Review: Not the Deaths Imagined, Anne Pettigrew


Not the Deaths Imagined, Anne Pettigrew

Mystery: Not the Deaths Imagined, Anne Pettigrew

Blog Tour September 18, 2020


I missed reading Anne Pettigrew’s first book, Not the Life Imagined. That needs to be remedied! Perhaps it would have prepared me for Not the Deaths Imagined. Because I was not prepared for this book.


It is good. Really good. And has a very distinctive style to it that I found truly compelling.


Most of the characters in this book were introduced in the previous book, but I did not have any trouble keeping up despite not having read the first book. Beth is a General Practitioner (GP), seeing patients regularly in her practice in Scotland. She is married and has two daughters from her first marriage which ended in divorce. She is close to her patients and her friends, in love with her husband, close to her mother and her daughters, and on decent terms with the girls’ father. Life is generally good.


Of course, that would make for a terrific life and a terribly dull book!


A figure from her past, Conor, a man who raped a friend who later committed suicide, returns to Scotland. Now going by “Conrad,” he is involved in a medical research company which is pushing a new asthma drug. Also, some local people in her circle begin suddenly dying, and her suspicions turn to another area GP. As soon as she starts raising those concerns, though, threats and intimidation come her way. Is it possible that the nice GP whose patients love him has a darker side?


Two things really stood out to me. One was the voice of the protagonist. The author is herself a retired GP. It shows. I actually became confused a few times wondering whether I was reading a mystery or a memoir! The first-person narrative pulled me in completely. Beth’s voice is vivid and full of detail and nuance. Her descriptions of “surgery” (what we in America would call doctor’s appointments) and house calls (Oh! I am so jealous–I have not heard of a doctor doing house calls in literally decades here) made me feel like I was there with her. And the warmth and love in her relationships with her husband, her mother, and her daughters absolutely lit up the page.


The second thing was the pacing of the novel. It does a slow burn, revealing detail after detail with almost agonizing patience. This was terrific! The novel covers almost a full year, with a case being built piece by piece, with witnesses being left in the dark while the police do their work, month after month without any updates until an abrupt conclusion left me gasping. Pettigrew is absolutely brilliant.


Not the Deaths Imagined is not the book I imagined. I don’t know what I was expecting, but my imagination was not prepared for the incredible plot and distinct voice of this novel. Anne Pettigrew has become a leading figure in what is being called “Tartan Noir,” and I hope there are many more lives and deaths to be imagined by this talented author.


anne pettigew poster not the death i imagined


Our thanks to Emma Welton of Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for providing us with our copy of this book in exchange for our participation on this blog tour. For other views on this book check out the wonderful bloggers participating in the tour. As always, the opinions here are solely those of Scintilla.


Not the Deaths Imagined, Anne Pettigrew

Book Review: Not the Deaths Imagined, Anne Pettigrew

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