The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina

‘The End of the Wasp Season’ tells the story of a brutal crime and the solving of this crime by police. Mmm, not really. The reader knows who the murderer is almost from the opening scene. And, the police don’t do anything clever to find the murderer as the answer pretty much falls in their laps while they happen to be in the right place at the right time.

The story is really about the lives of three of the main characters who are involved with the crime – Thomas Anderson, Alex Morrow and Kay Murray.

14 year old Thomas Anderson is one of the murderers. From an extremely rich family, he has been sent to an expensive boarding school in Scotland (which his father also attended). The story looks at Thomas’s neurotic family and the abuse and neglect that have made him the person he is. And, the event that led to him becoming a murderer.

Detective Inspector Alex Morrow is leading the murder investigation. She is pregnant with twins, which has tended to soften her tough uncompromising style. There is a lot of police politics as her boss was promoted over her, then immediately became a media-hungry waste of space. She struggles to get her team to care about the murder victim and not take the easy way out to a quick resolution. In the end she finds that she has also been uncaring in cutting herself off from her own family.

Kay Murray is a single mother of four children with more than one father. She was a school friend of Alex’s but they haven’t seen each other since. She worked as a cleaning lady for the murdered woman’s mother. At one stage in the story two of her sons become suspects in the murder, which has a devastating impact on the employment prospects of the whole family. Kay’s only real goal is to do the right thing by her family in the face of police prejudice and incompetence.


Although the story was a bit back-to-front compared to many crime novels, it was a brilliant read and full of suspense in parts. It’s the lives of the characters that drives the story – what happens to people when money becomes more important than love. A part of the book that stuck with me was when someone was talking about surviving on only £300,000 per year – tough.

A great read and I hope to read more Denise Mina books soon!


Book Published 2011


See a full list of books by Denise Mina

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Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Detective, Mina, Denise, Series Fiction, Thriller

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