Witch Hunt (novel)

Last updated
Witch Hunt
First edition
Author Ian Rankin
(writing as "Jack Harvey")
Genre Thriller
Publisher Headline
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages464 pp
ISBN 0-7472-0887-5
OCLC 48883548
Followed by Bleeding Hearts  

Witch Hunt is a 1993 crime novel by Ian Rankin, under the pseudonym "Jack Harvey". It is the first novel he wrote under this name.

Ian Rankin Scottish crime writer

Ian James Rankin, is a Scottish crime writer, best known for his Inspector Rebus novels.

Debut novel first published by an author

A debut novel is the first novel a novelist publishes. Debut novels are often the author's first opportunity to make an impact on the publishing industry, and thus the success or failure of a debut novel can affect the ability of the author to publish in the future. First-time novelists without a previous published reputation, such as publication in nonfiction, magazines, or literary journals, typically struggle to find a publisher.

Plot summary

A fishing boat sinks in the English Channel in the middle of the night, and the evidence points to murder. Ex-MI5 operative Dominic Elder comes out of retirement to help investigate the explosion of the boat, as it appears that his long-time obsession, a female assassin known as "Witch", may be responsible. Using the boat to get to England from France, Witch left a subtle trail of clues to announce her arrival and to warn off Elder.

English Channel Arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France

The English Channel, also called simply the Channel, is the body of water that separates Southern England from northern France and links the southern part of the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the busiest shipping area in the world.

But that is the least of Special Branch's worries, if Elder's well-honed intuition is correct. He has seen her work before and knows her to be a resourceful enemy, who always seems a step ahead of the authorities. With an imminent summit of world leaders to be held in London, Witch's target seems obvious.

Young Michael Barclay's thoroughness leads him onto Witch's trail, with the help of his liaison in the French police, Dominique Herault. Apart from her language help and guidance around Paris, Michael is sexually attracted to her.

The team of detectives and MI5 agents, and the terrorist, play cat-and-mouse with each other in Scotland, England, France, and even briefly visit a former associate of Witch in prison in Germany.

MI5 British domestic security agency

The Security Service, also known as MI5, is the United Kingdom's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and Defence Intelligence (DI). MI5 is directed by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), and the service is bound by the Security Service Act 1989. The service is directed to protect British parliamentary democracy and economic interests, and counter terrorism and espionage within the UK.

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