Tuesday, February 19, 2013

No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie

No Mark Upon Her (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #14)No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description: When a K9 search-and-rescue team discovers a woman's body in the Thames, Scotland Yard superintendent Duncan Kincaid finds himself heading an investigation fraught with complications. The victim, the talented and difficult Rebecca Meredith, was an Olympic rowing contender on the verge of a controversial comeback. She was also a high-ranking detective with the Met—a fact that raises a host of sensitive issues in an already tangled case.
To further complicate the situation, a separate investigation, led by Detective Inspector Gemma James, Kincaid's wife, soon reveals a disturbing—and possibly related—series of crimes, widening the field of suspects. But when someone tries to kill the search-and-rescue team member who found Rebecca's body, the case becomes even more dangerous. Pressured to find answers quickly while protecting the Yard at all costs and with his career and reputation on the line, Kincaid must race to catch the killer before more innocent lives are lost—including his own.

My thoughts: The first chapter starts out strong. Becca Meredith takes out a shell for a training session of sculling. New to the sport, I became a quick study but the book provides enough detail to understand the sport and the importance of certain boats, clubs, and backdoor entries to the Olympics. The disappointing part of the first chapter is that Becca senses something ominous and dies. Just when I was starting to like her.

The next few chapters provide a lot of background story for the characters. For those who have been reading this series, it would be (and from indications from other reviews, is) endearing as the readers catch up on the secondary story of Gemma and Kincaid's domestic life with a blended family. To a new reader, this is extraneous in some ways and validating in others. Extraneous in that I don't know these characters and I don't care about them. On the other hand, validating in that there is an element of reality that I can't ignore. The lines between work and home are never clear and the truth of the matter is that when couples have children - blended family or nuclear from the same parents, there is a certain amount of juggling and negotiating to keep a comfortable life fit. I might have been irritated by the extraneous information and somewhat confused by the introduction of all the characters but I couldn't help but admire an author that acknowledges this integral part of a person/family. I can definitely relate.

As far as the mystery is concerned, the story is well crafted and includes a number of red herrings. Step by meticulous step, the detective work is provided that rules out some suspects and opens others for further examination. I did not guess the actual culprit nor did I guess the motivation for the murder. It's a well written murder mystery with a realistic asterisk of juggling responsibilities while giving the reader a crash course on a sport I knew nothing about. But my interest is piqued.

One small spoiler; although the dangling threads are all tied up very nicely, the ending indicates that the story of Gemma and Kincaid will continue. Next time with Gemma on point.

 *I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

1 comment:

heathertlc said...

Ooh, I like that it seems the story will continue from here ...

Thanks for being on the tour!