The Great Silence


The discovery of a human foot in an Edinburgh park, the inexplicable circumstances of a dying woman, and the missing daughter of Jenny’s violent ex-husband present the Skelf women with their most challenging – and deadly – cases yet?

ISBN: 9781913193836 Author: Johnstone, Douglas Publisher: Orenda Books Publication Date: 19th August 2021 Imprint: Orenda Books Cover: Paperback Dewey: 823.92 (edition:23) Pages: 309 Language: English Edition: Paperback original Readership: General - Trade / Code: K Category: Subject:

The discovery of a human foot in an Edinburgh park, the inexplicable circumstances of a dying woman, and the missing daughter of Jenny’s violent ex-husband present the Skelf women with their most challenging – and deadly – cases yet?  Book THREE in the addictive The Skelfs series!

‘Simply stunning. Tense, funny and deeply moving’ Mark Billingham

‘If you loved Iain Banks, you’ll devour the Skelfs series’ Erin Kelly

‘Nobody portrays modern Edinburgh better than Doug Johnstone. The Great Silence speaks volumes about the power of story’ Val McDermid


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.


‘The power of this book, though, lies in the warm personalities and dark humour of the Skelfs, and by the end readers will be just as interested in their relationships with each other as the mysteries they are trying to solve’ Scotsman
‘Remarkable’ Sunday Times Crime Club STAR PICK
‘Keeps you hungry from page to page. A crime reader can’t ask anything more’ The Sun
‘Mysteries aplenty ? a poignant reflection on grief and the potential for healing that lies within us all. A proper treat’ Mary Paulson-Ellis
‘A thrilling, atmospheric book, set in the dark streets of Edinburgh. That great city really came alive for me in this gripping tale. Move over Ian Rankin, Doug Johnstone is coming through!’ Kate Rhodes

‘An unstoppable, thrilling, bullet train of a book that cleverly weaves in family and intrigue, and has real emotional impact. I totally loved it’ Helen Fields
‘If you’re looking for crime fiction that’s just that little bit different, The Great Silence is about to keep you happy for hours’ Crime Fiction Lover
‘An absolutely brilliant series ? hardhitting and full of great characters. Doug Johnstone is a fabulous writer’ Philippa’s Quick Book Reviews
‘Honest, gritty, socially relevant, powerful, emotional and just bloody good fun’ Jen Med’s Book Reviews
‘As perfect a book as I have read in a long time. The women are so beautifully and richly drawn that they feel real to me’ Live & Deadly
”Entertaining, clever, insightful, moving and funny’ Reader review

‘Dark, intriguing, and so, so original’ Hooked from Page One
‘Everything from the setting to the slightly scientific angle and the characters is just right, on point every single time, unique, beautiful, exciting’ From Belgium with Booklove
‘This series has so much heart, for its three brilliant, flawed and appealing leads and for a supporting cast that show the best (and worst) of our humanity’ Café Thinking
‘I love this quirky hotchpotch family and their murderous adventures in Edinburgh’ Reader review
‘This enjoyable mystery is also a touching and often funny portrayal of grief, as the three tough but tender main characters pick up the pieces and carry on: more, please’ Guardian

‘Wonderful characters: flawed, funny and brave’ Sunday Times 

‘Exceptional ? a must for those seeking strong, authentic, intelligent female protagonists’ Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Skelfs series

***Shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Best Scottish Crime Book of the Year***
***Longlisted for Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year***
***Shortlisted for Amazon Publishing Capital Crime Thriller of the Year***

‘An engrossing and beautifully written tale that bears all the Doug Johnstone hallmarks in its warmth and darkly comic undertones’ Herald Scotland

‘Gripping and blackly humorous’ Observer

‘A tense ride strong, believable characters’ Kerry Hudson, Big Issue

‘They are all wonderful characters: flawed, funny, brave and well set up for a series. I wouldn’t call him cosy, but there’s warmth to Johnstone’s writing’ Sunday Times

In stock