With no evidence against him and no known motive, DI Costello must break the rules if she is to get her man.
Detective Inspector Costello has resigned. No notice, no goodbyes. Convinced that George Haggerty murdered his wife and son despite his cast-iron alibi, Costello has gone solo, determined to expose a ruthless killer without being hampered by police protocol. But is she right about Haggerty’s guilt? And where has she disappeared to?
DCI Colin Anderson has no time to ponder the loss of his partner of twenty years. With a badly beaten body found on a remote mountain pass; a woman with a serious head wound who won’t communicate in any way; and a substantial pool of blood discovered at the edge of Loch Lomond, Police Scotland have their hands full. Could there be any connection to Costello’s disappearance …?
You don’t have to be an Anderson & Costello fan to love this book, but if you are then you definitely will. And if you haven’t met them yet, I’m really jealous as you are going to love this series and I wish I could go back and read them all again for the first time myself! Having enjoyed the rest of this series so much, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of TheSideman as I loved the setting and the main characters – I qualified as a teacher in Glasgow and I have really loved literally following in their footsteps in trying to solve these fascinating cases.
I hate spoilers, so I don’t want to dwell too long on the plot of The Sideman – suffice to say that the skilful way that Caro Ramsay weaves these cases of murder with the disappearance of Costello is superbly done and remains convincing throughout. I know at times it can feel like the fictional world is saturated with unusual detective teams with complicated back stories but this is a pleasing alliance with two very different points of view which collide pleasingly and create plenty of room for their own story as well as the case that they are trying to solve without ever feeling like these two factors are ‘warring’ within the story
I loved the way that this novel wove many threads together – a murder on the North Coast 500, an injured woman in the city centre and the resurgence of the Haggertys – and I also enjoyed the references to places all over Scotland throughout the novel that definitely made me resolve to drive more and explore the NC 500 for myself once lockdown is over.
Although this is a novel, the events that you are reading about have feel of true crime and you forget that you’re reading a novel as you get so caught up in the story and I think that Caro Fraser balances the crime aspect of the story with Anderson’s domstic life in the absence of Costello superbly. It’s definitely been a hard book to follow as I find myself continuously thinking back to it and I definitely have a bit of a book hangover this week once I’d finished. I’ve gone back to old favourite, The Cazalets as a palate cleanser whilst I consider what to read next as I really got so caught up in this story.
The Sideman is definitely one of those novels that stays with you long after closing its final page and I am recommrndimg it to my book group as a series that they just hve to read during lockdown if they haven’t already had the pleasure. If you enjoy an immersive and intelligent read that plunges you into exciting cases whilst asking you to think about bigger issues such as inequalities, gender roles and the way our justice system works then this is definitey the series for you. I can’t wait to see what Anderson & Costello do next. I’m a sucker for a great detective pairing and the relationship between these two characters will undoubtedly make you feel like they’ve stepped right off the page and you’re following the trail of these mysterious deaths and their repercussions right alongside them.
Buy yourself a copy and enjoy this series for yourself
“Brilliant . . . twisting the tension tauter with each page” (Guardian)
“[Ramsay] is a titan of Tartan Noir” (HELEN FIELDS, author of Perfect Remains)
“Ramsay handles her characters with aplomb, the dialogue crackles and the search for the killer has surprising twists and turns” (Observer)
“Another suspenseful read in a consistently gripping series” (Booklist)
“Ramsay has been compared to “Ruth Rendell at her best”. High praise indeed. There is little doubt she continues to be one Scotland’s best” (Herald)
Writer On The Shelf
CARO RAMSAY is the Glaswegian author of the critically acclaimed Anderson and Costello series, the first of which, Absolution, was shortlisted for the CWA’s New Blood Dagger for best debut of the year.
The ninth book in the series, The Suffering of Strangers, was longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize 2018.
This is the tenth book in the Anderson and Costello series.