Doug Johnstone: The Great Silence

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Great Silence. My review is written with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour.


Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private-investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself … with potentially deadly results.

Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: The mysterious circumstances of a dying woman lead them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has yet another devastating experience.

Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.

Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series, and the stakes are higher than ever.


I have been looking forward to reading The Great Silence for ages and it did not disappoint! I love the Skelf ladies: their determination, their compassion and their brilliant relationship with each other is something you don’t quite get in the same way in other novels. This series is obviously matriarchal and I love the way Johnstone uses this to reflect on societal conventions, most of which these ladies subvert in a wonderful way. 

There is so much going on in The Great Silence but I never felt overwhelmed and I had equal interest in each subplot – I wanted to know how each part of the novel would work out. Through the different subplots, Johnstone has the opportunity to explore so many different themes that there will be something in this novel to resonate with everyone and I love that it covers so many elements of humanity. 

Since reading The Great Silence, I have found out that the Skelf series will not be a trilogy as I originally thought and there will be more to come from these characters. I was delighted to hear this, and I can’t wait to see how the series continues.

The Great Silence is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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