Skelfs Books in Order: How to read Doug Johnstone’s series?

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Written by Scottish author Doug Johnstone, the Skelfs series immerses us in the multifaceted lives of the Skelf family spanning three generations. Set against the backdrop of Edinburgh, the series presents an intriguing blend of professions: funeral home directors and private investigators.

Everything starts when Jim, the patriarch of the Skelf family, passes away. His wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny, and granddaughter Hannah are left to run both companies, which sets off an unforeseen chain of events.

How to read The Skelfs Series in Order?

Although each entry in the Skelfs book series may be read by itself, the numerous characters’ lives change as the series moves forward.

  1. A Dark Matter – After Jim dies, his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny, and granddaughter Hannah are left to run both companies. Jim may not have been the spouse Dorothy thought he was as she finds out about some odd payments to another lady. The straightforward adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something more worse than any of them could have anticipated. Hannah’s best friend Mel has disappeared from the university. Secrets from the past come to light as the ladies battle to cope with their loss and the responsibilities of the company threaten to overtake them, changing everything.
  2. The Big Chill – Dorothy is officiating a funeral when a vehicle smashes into an open grave, and she is compelled to investigate the eerie life of the deceased driver. Hannah and Jenny struggle on their own as Dorothy uncovers a sinister truth at the center of Edinburgh society. Craig, Jenny’s ex-husband, is hatching schemes that might endanger the lives of the Skelf ladies, and Hannah, who is becoming more and more obsessed, has developed a bond with an old professor that is quickly becoming lethal.
  3. The Great Silence – Dorothy comes upon a human foot while walking the dog, which raises a complicated situation that might have fatal repercussions. Jenny and Hannah also have a lot going on: Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims to be receiving messages from space, the Skelfs’ teenage lodger has yet another traumatic experience, and the mysterious circumstances surrounding a dying woman thrust them into an unexpected family drama.
  1. Black Hearts – A brawl near an open grave prompts Dorothy to look into the possibility of a staged death, while Hannah’s relationship with Indy is endangered by a young woman’s fascination with her, putting both of them in danger of dying. While Jenny is haunted by different types of ghosts that come back to plague her from the dead, driving her to the brink, an elderly man alleges that he is being abused by the spirit of his late wife.
  2. The Opposite of Lonely – Dorothy investigates a strange fire at a camp for travelers and adopts a homeless guy who is in mourning. While Hannah is ordered to look into increasingly deadly conspiracy theorists who are targeting a retired female astronaut, putting her own life in jeopardy, Jenny is looking for her missing sister-in-law who vanished in terrible circumstances.
  3. Living is a Problem – Coming soon.

If you like our article about The Skelfs reading order, you can also check out the books from Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, and Gytha Lodge.

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