Lies to Tell (Detective Clare Mackay Book 3) by Marion Todd

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer…

Book blurb

Early one morning DI Clare Mackay receives a message from her boss DCI Alastair Gibson telling her to meet him in secret. She does as he asks and is taken to a secure location in the remote Scottish hills. There, she is introduced to ethical hacker Gayle Crichton and told about a critical security breach coming from inside Police Scotland. Clare is sworn to secrecy and must conceal Gayle’s identity from colleagues until the source is found.

Clare already has her hands full keeping a key witness under protection and investigating the murder of a university student. When a friend of the victim is found preparing to jump off the Tay Road Bridge it is clear he is terrified of someone. But who? Clare realises too late that she has trusted the wrong person. As her misplaced faith proves a danger to herself and others, Clare must fight tooth and nail to protect those she cares about and see justice done.

My thoughts

There are three threads in this book

  • A breach in security
  • A murder
  • A key witness protection

We begin with DI Clare Mackay and her boss DCI Alistair Gibson off to a top secret location to meet an ethical hacker, Gayle Crichton, who has been brought in to investigate leaks. Gayle wants to be situated in St Andrews – Clare’s station – and has brought them all together to meet, ensure complete confidentiality and agree a cover story.

Clare follows up on a reported missing persons case. A student, Marek Schmidt, reported another student, Johannes Muller, missing. Marek then disappears. When Johannes is found dead Clare wonders if Marek has run away through guilt or has fled in fear for his life?

Clare is briefed on the move to a safe house in her area of a key witness in the DI’s case against Phil Quinn. There was a breach at the previous safe house and the DI can’t risk anything going wrong with this witness giving testimony. Although the responsibility of the Serious Organised Crime squad Clare gets involved.

On top of all this the DI, with whom Clare hasn’t always had a great history, seems to be making personal approaches. His marriage has fallen apart. Clare is in quite a quandary about this as she is still in a relationship with Geoffrey Dark. Mind you, that’s a bit up in the air as he recently started a new position in Boston, USA. He had wanted Clare to go as well but she has her cottage, her dog Benjy, her sister’s family who she feels need her support and her job. She really needs to sort this out. I wasn’t overly keen on the way this was going. I like to have the background of personal lives, for example the thread with her sisters family was good, it rounds out their characters and you become more invested in them and the books. However, whilst this didn’t overtake the investigation and other storylines it was played very close to the wind. I do feel that Marion Todd knows just how to keep it on the right side of annoying.

This is another great read from Marion Todd. The characters are well drawn, you get enough back story to read as a one-off if you want (but why not check out the first two books, it’s always easier to follow the running themes, the build up of secondary characters such as Clare’s team and so on!) and the storylines are clear, pacy and keep you reading.

I really like the police procedural elements, the murder investigation and the key witness situation are well written; the breach in security is a bit dramatic, cloak and dagger-ish, but it’s this element that perhaps brings the greater surprise even though the various threads come with some good twists and turns.

Marion Todd has again provided a wonderful setting in and around St Andrew’s. She gives a great sense of place and I do enjoy letting my mind inhabit this beautiful place. Each storyline has a very satisfying conclusion they have pace and ultimately build to quite a shocking revelation. The final cliffhanger, however, was of an entirely different nature and I’ll leave you to decide how you feel about that!

This is another wonderful book in a series that is becoming a must have for all those who enjoy a really good police procedural with interesting twists and turns. It’s a book – and a series – I happily recommend.

I have read both of the previous D I Clare Mackay books here’s what I thought about In Plain Sight and See Them Run in this excellent series.


Marion Todd has been shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize 2020 for See Them Run. My congratulations and very best wishes to Marion Todd – well deserved and fingers crossed!


With thanks to Sophie at Canelo for the invite to read Lies to Tell by Marion Todd via NetGalley.

This is my 5th book in the #20BooksofSummer20 so just 15 remain! You can find out more about this challenge by popping over to Cathy’s blog – you’ll find lot’s of other wonderful book stuff there, too!


Publisher: Canelo| 25 June 2020

Buy: AmazonUK |AmazonSmileUK |or your favourite eBook seller


A native of Dundee, Marion studied music with the Open University and worked for many years as a piano teacher and jobbing accompanist. A spell as a hotel lounge pianist provided rich fodder for her writing and she began experimenting with a variety of genres. Early success saw her winning first prize in the Family Circle Magazine short story for children national competition and she followed this up by writing short stories and articles for her local newspaper.

Life (and children) intervened and, for a few years, Marion’s writing was put on hold. During this time, she worked as a college lecturer, plantswoman and candle-maker. But, as a keen reader of crime fiction, the lure of the genre was strong, and she began writing her debut crime novel. Now a full-time writer, Marion lives in North-east Fife, overlooking the River Tay. She can often be found working out plots for her novels while tussling with her jungle-like garden and walking her daughter’s unruly but lovable dog.

Twitter: @MarionETodd | Website:



Looking for thoughtful discussions about books and beverages? Well, you've come to the right place.

Taking On a World of Words

Homepage for fledgling writer Sam A. Stevens

Books, Cats, Etc.

A place to share my love of books, old and new


Thinking, writing, thinking about writing...


Book reviews by someone who loves books ...

Just One More Chapter

Book Reviews & More

Years of Reading Selfishly

Life is too short to read books you don't love

Crime Cymru

The Welsh Crime Writing Collective

Sharon Dempsey

First Chapter

Beverley's Reads

Book Reviews & The Joy of Reading

the dead authors club

a classics club blog


The poetry and writing of Ailsa Cawley. Welcome!

The Last Word Book Review

Musings about books and a blog journal

Crime Writer Margot Kinberg

...a crime-fictional site

Hugh's Views & News  

WordPress & Blogging tips, flash fiction, photography and lots more!

The Classics Club

A Community of Classics Lovers

Reading Matters

Book reviews of mainly modern & contemporary fiction

Raven Crime Reads

Criminally good reads

The book review café

Book reviews and the occasional ramblings of a book blogger

A crime readers blog

A place for crime fiction reviews and occasional ramblings of a 40 something in York

A Fangirl's Opinion

One Girl, Too Many Books

Jen Med's Book Reviews

Musings and Ramblings of a Disorganised Blogger

Digital Reads Media

Shalini's Digital Reads & Promotions

KayCKay Book Reviews

No one ever reads the same book. We all react to the written word differently. The following are my opinions regarding the books I have read.

Being Anne...

Books, travel, and other things that make life interesting

What Cathy Read Next...

For book lovers everywhere

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Book related stuff in English and Dutch!

Nordic Lighthouse

Spotlight on Nordic / Scandinavian crime fiction... and connections

Novel Deelights

Escaping reality one book at a time

Jess Bookish Life

Reader | Writer | Blogger

Scribbling Clouds

The place where I put down all my thoughts and observations

Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

A book blog with a speculative focus

Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader

Reading under the light of a Carolina moon



Ah Sweet Mystery!

Celebrating the Golden Age of Detection in books and on screen

Bibliophile Book Club

Books, reviews and more...


Life in Newcastle and beyond...

Reviews by Chloé

Feast your eyes on all the books that I have absolutely LOVED


Book reviews and random musings

%d bloggers like this: