By Deborah Crombie

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Publisher: Wm. Morrow (2017)
Format: Hardcover
Price: $26.99
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-227163-1

Kindle edition: $12.99


Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Series (Book #16)


Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
(July, 2017)


Jean Armitage is annoyed to see a large piece of trash marring the perfectly manicured private garden behind her home. As she gets closer, she sees it’s a lovely young woman, dressed in white, slumbering tranquilly on the grass. Then she realizes the girl will not be awakening in this world again.

The young woman, Reagan Keating, was the nanny for the Cusicks, one of the families living in the community surrounding Cornwall Gardens. Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Kerry Boatman is assigned to investigate the case. She asks her colleague, Gemma James, to assist her. They’ve worked together before, and Gemma’s son Toby is in the same dance class as Jess Cusick.

While investigating Reagan’s death, Gemma and Kerry find out there had been another death in the community a few months previously. Ruled an accident at the time, clues come to light that suggest it might have been more complicated than that. The detectives get to know the families around Cornwall Square very well: well enough to know that almost every one of them is hiding a secret. Some are mundane, others embarrassing, and at least one is deadly.

Gemma’s husband Duncan Kincaid, also a detective at Scotland Yard, is wondering why his boss reassigned him from New Scotland Yard in central London to the Holborn Police Station in Camden Borough, and why said boss then disappeared. Although he is warned off by his superiors, he decides to pursue a case that had been closed, a case with roots in the past. Several undercover agents, including a friend, died under suspicious circumstances, and he wants to know why. Signs point to corruption in high places. His investigation leads him into grave danger. To protect Gemma and his children, he shuts them out.

Gemma and Duncan, wrapped up in their own cases, are aware that they are becoming little more than strangers passing in the hall. Their main communication is about covering their children’s schedules. Gemma knows Duncan is keeping things from her, and her imagination takes her places she doesn’t want to go. They’ve weathered storms before, but this one threatens all they have built together.  

Nobody writes English police procedurals better than Deborah Crombie, who happens to be a native Texan. It is a pleasure to watch her protagonists, Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid, grow and change throughout the seventeen novels in this exceptional series. The plot is intricate, the characters all three-dimensional, and, as always, London comes alive on the page. To add to one’s reading experience, a map of the area where all the action happens is on the end papers. Highly recommended.

Copyright 2017 Shirley Wetzel. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited. OMDB! and OMDB! logos are trademarks of Over My Dead Body!

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