Wednesday, March 19, 2014


This is a DS Duncan Kincaid and DI Gemma James mystery with an emphasis on James.  For those not in the know, Kincaid and James are married with several children, the youngest of which is Charlotte, a 3 year old orphan they are fostering.  Charlotte is a beautiful child but due to the upheaval in her life she has not settled well in the preschools they've tried, so Kincaid has taken leave to care for her until they can find a solution.  That adds quite a lot to this excellent novel as he deals with worry about his job, finding money for a better school, and frustration because he can't help his wife with her mysterious south London murder case.

Speaking of her case, the naked body of a middle-aged man has been found in a cheap hotel tied up in a particularly humiliating position.  The victim had been strangled.  He apparently had used that room frequently for sexual encounters with women he picked up in a nearby bar.  Turns out he was a respected barrister known also for his devoted care of his wife who has Alzheimers.  

The story actually begins much earlier.  Told in flashback, we meet a young teenager with a drunken mother and a natural talent for guitar.  He goes to Crystal Palace Park each day to play his guitar and get out of his house, an escape ruined by bullies.  His neighbor, a young widow who is a French teacher, befriends him but can he escape the bullies?  

Crystal Palace was a real place.  It was an enormous iron and glass building used for exhibitions and other events from 1854 until it burned years later.  Now the area around the site is known generally as Crystal Palace.  Each chapter is headed by a sentence or two from a guidebook or history about the building and surrounding area.  I love history so I was interested in that aspect of the novel.

The characters in this series are people you would like to know so you can just settle in for a comfortable time with them as they solve a mystery, keep up with friends, and deal with problems in their personal lives as well.  This story also gives us a glimpse into the music world of London as Andy the guitar player tries to get his big break.  James' current partner, Melody Talbot, also has a big role in solving this case.

Highly recommended
Source:  Partners in Crime Book Tours


  1. I just got this one! Can't wait to read it!

  2. I've got to try a Crombie book soon!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the latest mystery in this long-running series.