The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina. Reagan Arthur Books, 2011.
The End of the Wasp Season is the second in the DS Alex Morrow series. The story begins with the murder of a young woman, Sarah Erroll, in her home. When Morrow and her colleagues arrive on the scene, they find a large sum of money hidden in the kitchen. Where did the money come from? Why was the woman murdered? As the investigation begins, the reader already knows who did it and quickly finds out why. The truth of the Sarah's life, however, unfolds more slowly.
Like Still Midnight, Wasp Season is a journey during which the reader waits for Morrow to catch up to what you already know while filling in the gaps. Unlike Still Midnight, the journey seems artificially prolonged. I spent a good portion of the book wondering why the police were wasting time picking on poor Kay instead of following the obvious lead provided in the emergency call. Of course, Alex Morrow eventually defies Bannerman, who is now her boss, to pursue the appropriate course of investigation and solve the case. I was a bit annoyed, however, by Alex’s realization that she was being passive because of her pregnancy -- after spending most of the book annoyed with her male colleagues for assuming her being pregnant would affect her work!
That being said, The End of the Wasp Season is still a good crime novel. Despite being annoyed at Kay’s treatment, I was glad to have her in the book. She is another strong-willed woman the reader can admire. Plus, she and Alex were friends in their youth so she allows a bit more of Alex’s personal side to be revealed. I love the general feel of this series and will read the next one when it comes out even though The End of the Wasp Season didn’t quite measure up to Still Midnight.