Lauren Lyle, a Glasgow native, plays Karen Pirie, a young police officer with a healthy sense of scepticism regarding the force and its pervasive misogyny, in ITV's most recent detective thriller. She quickly realises that the "optics"—the fact that the case is the focus of a true crime podcast attempting to solve a long-forgotten crime—have secured her the job rather than her qualifications or track record. The case is a 25-year-old cold murder case. But is Karen Pirie entirely fictional or based on a factual story?
Despite the fact that the three-episode drama series' premise may have been inspired by a true story, it was actually adapted from The Distant Echo by Val McDermid. Six books by the best-selling Scottish crime author chronicle Karen Pirie's life and her detective exploits. The Distant Echo is the first book series, but right away, it's obvious there are some key changes between the TV show and the original writing. The university students who discover Rosie Duff's body and play a key role in the plot as suspects in the book are four, not three. In the book, the first murder took place in 1978; however, due to a time skip, the case was restarted in 2003. Instead, the ITV series has chosen to move the story forward to 1996 and 2021 in an effort to differentiate the crime genre by being "cool and innovative," according to I Talk Telly.
The fact that Pirie is actually a relatively minor character in the book, as opposed to the main protagonist in the TV series, is another important distinction. This establishes the groundwork for her bigger role in the remaining books in the series. In actuality, the missing pieces of the old murder case that the story centres on are being looked into by a former journalist turned true crime podcaster.
Emer Kenny, an actor and writer for EastEnders, adapted McDermid's book. He also plays River, Karen's best friend and flatmate on the TV show. But before book aficionados get upset, you should know that Kenny modified McDermid's original plot with the author's approval after inviting her to provide advice on the show's direction. The series will indeed conclude with a conclusion to this specific murder case, as Kenny has promised. There is "certainly space for Karen to continue solving crimes" with six books published to date and a seventh being written.