Newly appointed Detective Inspector Gemma James has never thought to question her friend Hazel Cavendish about her past. So it is quite a shock when Gemma learns that their holiday retreat to a hotel in the Scottish Highlands is, in fact, Hazel's homecoming -- and that fellow guest Donald Brodie was once Hazel's lover, despite a vicious, long-standing feud between their rival, fine whiskey distilling families. And the fires of a fierce and passionate affair may not have burned out completely -- on Brodie's part at least, since he's prepared to destroy Hazel's marriage to win back his "Juliet." But when a sudden, brutal murder unleashes a slew of sinister secrets and long-seething hatreds, putting Hazel's life in peril, Gemma knows she will need help unraveling this very bloody knot -- and calls for the one man she trusts more than any other, Duncan Kincaid, to join her far from home ... and in harm's way.
Crombie (And Justice There Is None) offers her most captivating outing yet for Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, recently promoted to detective inspector from sergeant. Still getting over the depression caused by her miscarriage, Gemma accepts the invitation of a married friend, Hazel Cavendish, to attend a cooking weekend in Innesfree, Scotland. Gemma thinks the misty, atmospheric landscape of the Highlands, where fine whiskey is distilled and the brogues of the natives ring like music in the air, will be just what she needs to complete her recovery. However, Gemma's hopes are soon dashed by Hazel's revelation that she has come to Innesfree to meet her former lover, Donald Brodie, a handsome distillery owner. When someone shoots Donald dead, Hazel becomes a prime suspect. Gemma investigates, but must be careful to avoid stepping on the toes of DCI Alun Ross, the local authority in charge. Duncan leaves his own problems with his son, Kit, behind in London and joins Gemma in Scotland, but it's Gemma who mainly ferrets out the secrets of the large list of suspects, any one of whom could be the murderer. A master storyteller, Crombie weaves together all the pieces, including a parallel story from a century earlier, to create a fabric as rich and history-laden as a tartan plaid. With vivid settings, well-developed characters and a finely tuned mystery, this is a pure gem guaranteed to satisfy both police procedural and cozy fans.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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September 30, 2004
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Excerpt from Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie
If there's a sword-like sang
That can cut Scotland clear
O a' the warld beside
Rax me the hilt o't here.
-- Hugh Macdiarmid,
"To Circumjack Cencrastus"
Carnmore, November 1898
Wrapped in her warmest cloak and shawl, Livvy Urquhart paced the worn kitchen flags. The red-walled room looked a cozy sanctuary with its warm stove and open shelves filled with crockery, but outside the wind whipped and moaned round the house and distillery with an eerily human voice, and the chill penetrated even the thick stone walls of the old house.
It was worry for her husband, Charles, that had kept Livvy up into the wee hours of the night. He would have been traveling back from Edinburgh when the blizzard struck, unexpectedly early in the season, unexpectedly fierce for late autumn.
And the road from Cock Bridge to Tomintoul, the route Charles must take to reach Carnmore, was always the first in Scotland to be completely blocked by snow. Had his carriage run off the track, both horse and driver blinded by the stinging wall of white fury that met them as they came up the pass? Was her husband even now lying in a ditch, or a snowbank, slowly succumbing to the numbing cold?
Her fear kept her pacing, long after she'd sent her son, sixteen-year-old Will, to bed, and as the hours wore on, the knowledge of her situation brought her near desperation. Trapped in the snug, white-harled house, she was as helpless as poor Charles, and useless to him. Soon she would not even be able to reach the distillery outbuildings, much less the track that led to the tiny village of Chapeltown.
Livvy sank into the rocker by the stove, fighting back tears she refused to acknowledge. She was a Grant by birth, after all, and Grants were no strangers to danger and harsh circumstances. They had not only survived in this land for generations but had also flourished, and if she had grown up in the relative comfort of the town, she had now lived long enough in the Braes to take hardship and isolation for granted.
And Charles ... Charles was a sensible man -- too sensible, she had thought often enough in the seventeen years of their marriage. He would have taken shelter at the first signs of the storm in some roadside inn or croft. He was safe, of course he was safe, and so she would hold him in her mind, as if her very concentration could protect him.
She stood again and went to the window. Wiping at the thick pane of glass with the hem of her cloak, she saw nothing but a swirl of white. What would she tell Will in the morning, if there was no sign of his father? A new fear clutched at her. Although a quiet boy, Will had a stubborn and impulsive streak. It would be like him to decide to strike off into the snow in search of Charles.
Hurriedly, she lit a candle and left the kitchen for the dark chill of the house, her heart racing. But when she reached her son's first-floor bedroom, she found him sleeping soundly, one arm free of his quilts, his much-read copy of Kidnapped open on his chest. Easing the book from his grasp, she rearranged the covers, then stood looking down at him. From his father he had inherited the neat features and the fine, straight, light brown hair, and from his father had come the love of books and the streak of romanticism. To Will, Davie Balfour and the Jacobite Alan Breck were as real as his friends at the distillery; but lately, his fascination with the Rebellion of '45 seemed to have faded, and he'd begun to talk more of safety bicycles and blowlamps, and the new steam-powered wagons George Smith was using to transport whisky over at Drumin. All natural for a boy his age, Livvy knew, especially with the new century now little more than a year away, but still it pained her to see him slipping out of the warm, safe confines of farm, village, and distillery.