Where's the book?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book #15: It’s a mystery

 I went back to Deborah Crombie this week, for the latest installment of her Duncan Kincaid-Gemma James series, which is now (good for her!) fourteen books long. I’m happy to report that after a few disappointing entries, with No Mark Upon Her Crombie is back in fine form. The book is tight, the protagonists have rediscovered their somehow mislaid personalities, and the main storyline is a satisfying arc with a surprising reveal (I should have seen it coming, really, but so glad I didn’t).

It all begins with the murder of a talented but troubled woman. The victim is a star rower (they have such things in England), making a comeback with an eye towards Olympic contention, She's also—good one!—a high-ranking detective with the London police force. Without giving away too much more, there’s also a series of disturbing crimes that might—or might not—have been committed by an officer even higher up the police ladder.

Any excuse to show the Imp
The plot trots along at a good clip, there aren’t too many arcane rowing references or an untenable number of side plots or dozens of ancillary characters, and, for once, Duncan and Gemma are not waylaid by their insanely complex personal lives. If you ask me, so many long-running dramas, from Game of Thrones  to ER to a mystery series like this one, eventually start to feel like a narrative version of cat’s cradle. Trying to keep track of all the romantic and familial entanglements gives me a headache. Maybe Duncan and Gemma can push a narrative re-set button and start over with the two of them meeting for the very first time? Like they have a concurrent amnesia? It would ease my weary mind, not to mention author Crombie’s.

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