"Slip of the Knife," (2007) is third in the Paddy Meehan series of British mysteries, following on The Field of Blood; (2005), and The Dead Hour (2006), by increasingly well-known Scottish-born author Denise Mina. She must now be considered a leading practitioner, in company with Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, of the Scottish crime writing school that has come to be known as "tartan noir," for its high level of violence, sheer bloody-mindedness, and grisly, witty humor. Mina burst on the scene with her debut novel, Garnethill that won the John Creasey Memorial Award; she was born in the vicinity of Glasgow, where all her novels have so far been set. As a child, her father's work took her all over the world: she has since, since her return to that city, worked in the field of health care, studied law at the University of Glasgow, and taught criminal law and criminology. "Slip," as all of Mina's production so far, is set in Glasgow, her home town, in 1990. It picks up the story of Patricia (Paddy) Meehan, erstwhile girl reporter, now successful, locally famous girl columnist in the shrinking newspaper business. She drinks too much, eats too much unhealthy food, and is unable to give up smoking: that just makes her a Scot, along with her countrymen. But she's doing fine, has a son, Pete, and a loving roommate/friend, Dub, some family troubles. Until the police suddenly notify her that her old beau/friend/colleague/newspaper rival Terry Hewitt has been brutally murdered, in an execution style that hints of the Irish Republican Army, who have not been previously active in Scotland. Hardened crime reporter that she has been, Meehan begins investigating. At the same time, Callum Ogilvy, cousin of a former beau of Paddy's, who has been and is a close family friend, is to be released from prison. Newspapers are agog. Callum has had the misfortune of becoming internationally famous as the result of the notorious case that forms the core of "Field." Two young boys, of nine and ten, have tortured and beaten a toddler to death. (Mina has based this on a distressing well-known true case: the 1990s murder, in Liverpool, England, of little Jamie Bulgar.) Once again, the author manages to steer her tales to reasonably happy endings, telling them with verve and skill, in the somewhat dark and violent way that "tartan noir" predicts. She also perpetuates the Lord Byron festival in which I have recently found myself living, by quoting his description of their mutual home country as a "Land of Sophistry and Mist." But this time out, she's really just giving us a mystery. And mystery lovers could do a lot worse. Any darkness is well-flavored with Mina's outstanding love for and knowledge of her city, and dry wit. She once again sets her scene, letting us know how well the city has cleaned up:" For a century Glasgow had been a byword for deprivation and knife-wielding teenage gangs but in the past few years the thick coat of black soot had been sandblasted off the old buildings, revealing their pale yellow sandstone that glittered in the sun, or blood orange stone that clashed with blue skies. International theater companies and artists had started coming to the city, colonizing unlikely venues, old churches, schools, markets and abandoned sheds, places the locals failed to notice every day. Glaswegians no longer felt as defensive of their home, began to look around with renewed interest, like a partner in a stale marriage finding out that their spouse was a heartthrob abroad." .