Award-winning author Deborah Crombie has elevated the modern mystery novel to new heights of human drama and multilayered suspense with her critically acclaimed tales of intrigue featuring Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James. In their latest outing, Kincaid and his former partner--and soon-to-be roommate--follow a twisting trail of rage and retribution whose buried roots are about to exact a deadly toll on the living.
There's more truth than humor in Crombie's eighth thriller set in contemporary London. When someone does in Dawn Arrowood, the young, pregnant wife of a wealthy antiques dealer, in her soign Notting Hill home, Inspector Gemma James is put in charge of the investigation. Gemma's lover, Det. Supt. Duncan Kincaid, believes the murder is the work of a serial killer, but Gemma suspects the victim's husband, Karl Arrowood. Despite their combined efforts, the slasher strikes again. Fearful of igniting a new Jack the Ripper-style panic, Duncan and Gemma soon find themselves at odds when their investigations become linked in startling, unexpected ways, culminating in an exciting denouement with serious undercurrents. Crombie keeps the action moving throughout, providing a cook's tour of London, from Tower Bridge to Portobello Market, as well as plenty of gruesome detail ("Kincaid felt the bile rise in the back of his throat as he squatted, using his pocket torch to illuminate Dawn Arrowood's motionless form"). There's some amusing sociological commentary interspersed throughout, plus the occasional frisson ("A jogger brushed past, startling him a tall, slender, hooded figure. Alex felt a shock of familiarity, but when he turned, the man had vanished"). The result is a competently plotted, reasonably engaging mystery that blazes no new pathways, but keeps the reader involved all the way to its predictably sanguinary conclusion. (Sept. 3) FYI: The author has been nominated for Edgar, Agatha and Macavity awards. The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association named Crombie's Dreaming of the Bones one of the 20th century's best mystery novels. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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August 26, 2002
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Excerpt from And Justice There is None by Deborah Crombie
Admiral Sir Edward Vernon, with a small fleet of ships from the British Navy, captured the port [of Porto Bello] in 1739... Bonfires were lit in all the major cities to celebrate the victory... streets and districts were named after Vernon and Portobello.
--Whetlor and Bartlett, from Portobello
He ran, as so many others ran, the black anorak protecting him from the mist, the reflective patches on his trainers gleaming as he passed under the street lamps. The pattern of the streets was etched in his mind, a living map. Down Portobello, under the motorway, past Oxford Gardens, once the site of Portobello Farm, then back up Ladbroke Grove, past the video shop and the Afro-Caribbean hairdressers, then into Lansdown Road with its whitewashed Victorian austerity. He imagined that the street's curve paralleled the track of the old racecourse that had crowned Notting Hill a hundred and fifty years ago; that his feet fell where the horses' hooves had struck.
Now, Christmas lights twinkled in front gardens, promising a cheerful comfort he could not share. Other joggers passed him. He acknowledged them with a nod, a raised hand, but he knew there was no real kinship. They thought of their heart rates, of their dinners and their shopping, of home and children and the demands of the holiday on their bank accounts.
He ran, as the others ran, but his mind revolved in a rat's wheel of old things, dark things, sores that did not heal. Nor would they, he knew, unless he took the cleansing upon himself: There would be no justice unless he made it.