A Grave Talent (1993)

Grave Talent UK A Grave Talent

Edgar award, MWA, best first novel; Creasey award, CWA (UK)

The multicolored crowd that whirled in and out of the rooms in Tyler’s house was like something from another world, or perhaps several worlds—part Amish, part Woodstock, part pioneer. Children ran yelling and shrieking among the knees and the furniture, dogs wandered in and were thrown out into the rain, the smells of bread and spaghetti sauce and wood smoke mingled with wet clothing, underwashed bodies, and the occasional aura of stale marijuana. Tyler had given the police three rooms downstairs, furnished with a motley collection of tables and desks, where they prepared to take statements. Kate stood in the main room—the hall—with its fifteen-foot ceilings and the floor space of an average house, and wondered how Hawkin intended to proceed with a murder investigation in this chaos. For the first time she was very grateful that he, not she, was in charge.

Download an excerpt.

Download a reading group guide here.

To Buy a Copy

Bookshop Santa Cruz (ask for a signed copy!)

What they say

An omniscient narrator endows this amazing first novel with intelligence, intrigue, and intricacy. The serial murders of three kindergarten-aged girls test the uncomfortable relationship between a crusty San Francisco detective and his new female partner, both known for their independence. Eventually, unforeseen complications involving a remarkable artist’s past and an evil stalker’s secretive present force the pair into confrontation, and they learn to trust. This work exhibits strong psychological undertones, compelling urgency, and dramatic action. A necessary purchase and a writer to watch. (Library Journal)


Visit Kate Martinelli’s World.

Read Laurie’s blog post on writing A Grave Talent.

The park above the Road, where Andy catches a ride

Where Vaun chooses to go on her day out

For a bibliography and Laurie’s suggestions to teacher and book groups, click here.

Read about a Grave Talent mystery



Click the image above to visit the gallery