Saturday, June 21, 2008

REVIEW: Mourn Not Your Dead

Title: Mourn Not Your Dead
Author: Deborah Crombie
Protagonist(s): Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James
Setting: a small village south of London, present day
Series: #4
Rating: B+

First Line: His office seemed to shrink as he paced.

Alastair Gilbert, a high-ranking police officer, has been bludgeoned to death in his home in Holmbury St. Mary, and Scotland Yard's James and Kincaid are called in to aid the local authorities. Suspicion immediately falls upon the widow, Claire Gilbert, who along with her daughter Lucy, discovered the body. Interviews with some of the town's citizens show that Claire and Lucy are held in high regard and suggest that more pertinent information might be found in London, where Claire's first husband had been killed in a hit-and-run accident some years earlier-a case in which Alastair had been an investigating officer.

What may astonish anyone who reads this series is that Crombie is a native Texan and lives in a small town outside Dallas. Only those well-versed in mysteries written by British authors would be able to tell that they were written by a non-British person. Crombie is very wise with her
language--using common terms for things in England without going off the deep end and confusing the reader. Not everyone is as lucky as I to have a British husband handy to decipher dodgy bits.

Her characterizations shine in these books--not only the new cast of the usual suspects but the ones of Kincaid and James. It's fascinating to see how their relationship changes and grows in very realistic ways. About the only nitpicking thing I have to say about Mourn Not Your Dead is that it was very easy for me to see whodunit, but this minor detail pales in comparison to reading the series!

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