A Scottish crime series.
What is the Rhona MacLeod series about?
Coming from bestselling Scottish author Lin Anderson, the Rhona MacLeod series is a collection of crime thriller novels.
Set in Glasgow, the series follows the investigations of forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod, a woman of our time inspired by a former pupil of Lin Anderson who became a forensic scientist for the Met in London.
As the series progress, Rhona is tasked with investigating a variety of crimes, ranging from murder and abduction to human trafficking and terrorism. Alongside her police colleagues, she uses her expertise in forensic science to analyze crime scenes and gather evidence, ultimately working to bring criminals to justice.
In addition to solving crimes, the books also explore Rhona’s personal life, her relationships with her friends, family, and colleagues, as well as her struggles with trauma and more.
How to read the Rhona MacLeod Books in Order?
Every book in the Rhona MacLeod series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- Blood Red Roses – Rhona MacLeod Prequel Novella. A hen night in Glasgow leaves the bride-to-be dead on a toilet floor. Her body is twisted, her face a mask of terror. Who would kill a girl just before her wedding? Dr Rhona MacLeod and her team are called in to find out.
- Driftnet – Summoned in the early hours of the morning to a Glasgow flat, forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod is confronted by a horrific crime scene. A teenage boy has been found mutilated and strangled to death by a vicious killer. But her grim task of scanning for evidence is made even more unsettling than normal by the boy’s remarkable resemblance to her – and by the fact that she gave up a baby boy for adoption seventeen years ago . . .
- Torch – It’s Edinburgh, Scotland, days before the biggest New Year’s party in the world. When Karen, a young homeless girl, dies in a case of suspected arson, her friend Jaz sets out to avenge her death. Faced with similar cases in Glasgow, Dr Rhona MacLeod heads to the capital to establish whether the string of attacks are linked. Arriving as festivities begin to get under way, Rhona starts her investigation and is confronted by combative Severino MacRae, the city’s chief fire investigator.
- Deadly Code – Following a grisly discovery made on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod is sent over to investigate. It’s there she finds a decomposing foot, caught in a net by a local fisherman, and there are key questions which remain unanswered: Where is the rest of the body? Who was the dead man? And why does the Ministry of Defence want the discovery to be kept out of the media?
- Dark Flight – Six-year-old Stephen Devlin has vanished, his mother and grandmother horrifically murdered. At the scene of the devastating crime, forensic scientist Rhona Macleod finds a chilling African talisman, made from the bones of a child.
- Easy Kill – A vulnerable young woman has been brutally slain and left on a grave in Glasgow’s sprawling cemetery, the Necropolis. Upon examining the body, forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod has no doubt that the depraved killer’s motives were sexual in nature. The case takes on an even more disturbing dimension when the removal of the girl’s body reveals a second victim, who has recently been buried in a shallow grave underneath.
- Final Cut – When Claire regains consciousness after a stranger causes her car to crash in a snowstorm, she is frantic to discover that her nine-year-old daughter Emma is missing from the back seat. Then Emma is found in the woods nearby, unharmed but cradling a child’s skull. She claims it ‘called’ to her – and she can hear another voice nearby . . . Meanwhile, forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod is trying to discover the identity of a corpse found badly burnt in a skip.
- The Reborn – When the body of a pregnant teenager is found at a Glasgow funfair, her unborn baby surgically removed, forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod is called in to assist the police. Suspecting the baby may still be alive, finding the killer becomes paramount.
- Picture Her Dead – When art student Jude Evans disappears on a trip to photograph one of Glasgow’s many derelict cinemas, her friend Liam reports her missing to the local police. Unable to get the authorities to take him seriously, he enlists the help of his mother, forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod, in his search for the missing girl.
- Paths of the Dead – When Amy MacKenzie agrees to attend a meeting at a local spiritualist church, the last person she expects to hear calling to her from beyond the grave is her son. The son whom she’d only spoken to an hour before. Then the body of a young man is found inside a Neolithic stone circle high above the city of Glasgow and Rhona MacLeod is soon on the case.
- The Special Dead – When Mark is invited back to Leila’s flat and ordered to strip, he thinks he’s about to have the experience of his life. Waking later he finds Leila gone from his side. Keen to leave, he opens the wrong door and finds he’s entered a nightmare; behind the swaying Barbie dolls that hang from the ceiling is the body of the girl he just had sex with. Rhona MacLeod’s forensic investigation of the scene reveals the red plaited silk cord used to hang Leila to be a cingulum, a Wiccan artefact used in sex magick.
- None But the Dead – Sanday, one of Britain’s northernmost islands, inaccessible when the wind prevents the ferry crossing from the mainland, or fog grounds the tiny, island-hopping plane. When human remains are discovered to the rear of an old primary school, Dr Rhona MacLeod and her assistant arrive to excavate the grave. When the suspicious death of an old man in Glasgow appears to have links with the island, DS Michael McNab is dispatched to investigate.
- Follow the Dead – On holiday in the Scottish Highlands, Dr Rhona MacLeod joins a mountain rescue team on Cairngorm summit, where a mysterious plane has crash-landed on the frozen Loch A’an. Added to that, a nearby climbing expedition has left three young people dead, with a fourth still missing.
- Sins of the Dead – While illegally street racing in the underground tunnels of Glasgow, four Harley-Davidson riders make a horrifying discovery: a dead man left in the darkness, hands together on his chest as if peacefully laid to rest. The cause of death is unclear, the only clues being a half glass of red wine and a partially eaten chunk of bread by his side that echo the ancient religious practice of sin-eating.
- Time for the Dead – When Rhona MacLeod returns to her roots on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, a chance encounter in the woods behind a nearby activities centre leads her to what seems to be a crime scene, but without a victim. Could this be linked to a group of army medics, who visited the centre while on leave from Afghanistan and can no longer be located on the island?
- The Innocent Dead – Mary McIntyre’s disappearance tore the local community apart, inflicting wounds that still prove raw for those who knew her. So when the present-day discovery of a child’s remains are found in a peat bog south of Glasgow, it seems the decades-old mystery may finally be solved. Called in to excavate the body, Rhona MacLeod uses the advances made in forensic science since Mary’s vanishing to determine what really happened all those years ago . . . and who was responsible.
- The Killing Tide – After a fierce storm hits Scotland, a mysterious cargo ship is discovered in the Orkney Isles. Boarding the vessel uncovers three bodies, recently deceased and in violent circumstances. Forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod’s study of the crime scene suggests that a sinister game was being played on board, but who were the hunters? And who the hunted?
- The Wild Coast – The height of summer in Scotland. Small west-coast campsites are the go-to for wild campers and campervans. Remote, loch, or beach-side, most occupy a field on a highland croft. No CCTV. Small overnight fee paid for in cash. Friendly and ideal if you long for solitude, beauty, and safety. Until a lone camper disappears. Then another. It appears that a killer has found the perfect way to operate. Remote, unnoted, and lethal. Meanwhile, in Glasgow, Police Scotland is facing allegations of sexual assault by its male officers. Young women from all walks of life have come forward to reveal the names of their police attackers. In that list is one DS Michael McNab.
If you like our article about the Rhona MacLeod series in order, don’t forget to bookmark it! You may also be interested in the Inspector Rebus series by Ian Rankin.