Tuesday, February 07, 2012

No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie

Title: No Mark Upon Her
Author: Deborah Crombie
ISBN: 9780061990618
Publisher: William Morrow
Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Police Procedural, #14 Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James mystery
Rating: A+
Source: Amazon Vine

First Line: A glance at the sky made her swear aloud.

The Kincaid and James household is still getting used to the new addition to their family. Gemma's leave is almost over, and when she returns to work, Duncan will be the one staying at home with the children. However, when a search and rescue team discovers a woman's body in debris along the banks of the Thames, their plans may go up in smoke. The dead woman, Rebecca Meredith, not only was a rower training to compete in the Olympics, she was a high-ranking detective with the Metropolitan Police. This is a case which must be solved quickly.

Matters are further complicated when a detective at the Notting Hill station asks Gemma for advice regarding a separate investigation. Gemma welcomes the chance to focus on something besides home and hearth, and she lends a hand. The information she uncovers ties in with Duncan's case, revealing a possibly related series of crimes that widens the field of suspects. Someone has a secret that must remain hidden at all costs;  a secret involving powerful people that could reach right into the heart of the Metropolitan police.

As in other books in this series, Crombie incorporates a slice of English life into No Mark Upon Her-- this time competitive rowing. (In 2010, a quarter of a million people came to the banks of the Thames to watch the races between Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and this is only one of the many regattas held each year.) This information adds texture and atmosphere to a multi-layered story.

As Duncan begins investigating, what seems to be a simple case of murder soon turns into a cover-up, and eventually the cover-up also turns into something more. Secrets have been festering beneath the surface for years, and those secrets have turned into a deadly Hydra that Duncan and Gemma must vanquish before any more people lose their lives.

The search and rescue team members Kiernan and Tavie-- as well as their dogs-- are welcome additions to the cast, and I certainly wouldn't mind seeing them in future books. Speaking of that cast, it's one of the best in fiction. The relationships between Duncan, Gemma, their children, and the other people in their lives grow and change in each book. I feel as though I should be able to walk up to their door in Notting Hill, ring the bell, and be welcomed inside for a cup of tea and a nice long chat. When characters have that much depth, it makes for a series that readers never want to end.

If you've never read a book in this series before, don't be shy about starting with No Mark Upon Her. You can read it and not feel lost among the characters and their history. But if you're looking for a series that has it all-- like this one does-- I suggest you begin at the very beginning (A Share in Death). I almost envy the pleasure that awaits you!



16 comments:

  1. Cathy - Oh, this is a fine series and I'm so glad you like this latest addition to it :-). Crombie does such a good job of integrating cases and weaving together plot threads, I think. Yes this is definitely a good series.

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    1. One of my favorites. Those who know me well can assume this by the fact that it's one of the few series with which I'm current! LOL

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  2. Wow! An A+ one. I've put it on my list. I find I often (not always, but quite often) like the kinds of books you like. Thanks for the review.

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    1. You're very welcome, Joe. I, too, have noticed that we seem to share a bit of the same reading DNA. :)

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  3. I totally loved Kiernan and Tavie! I say the same thing in my review (it hasn't published yet). And of course Finn and Tosh! This was my first one of her books but I really liked it enough to explore the series further.

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    1. Wonderful! You've got some excellent explorations ahead of you!

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  4. I got this a week or two ago and didn't realize it's part of a series. I'm glad to know it stands alone.

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  5. Another series for me to start? Cathy, you have no pity. :)

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  6. It sounds good, but I think I have one of her earlier books in my Kindle. I just need some extra hours for reading every day ;)

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    1. I think I need about 24 extra hours!

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  7. another series...what to do? so many books, so little time. perhaps I should quit my job and become a full time reader..and beggar.

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    1. I think we should form a commune of sorts and go out on shifts to beg. That way money can come in and books will be read all at the same time. :o)

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  8. I am not sure why I hadn't tried this series before No Mark Upon Her. Better late than never, right? I definitely plan to go back and start from the beginning.

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    1. Definitely better late than never. You're going to love seeing their relationship grow and change! (And the mysteries themselves aren't slouches either!)

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