Sunday, November 23, 2008

REVIEW: A Finer End

Title: A Finer End
Author: Deborah Crombie
ISBN: 0553579274/Bantam Books
Protagonist(s): Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Detective Inspector Gemma James
Setting: present-day Glastonbury, England
Series: #7
Rating: A

First Line: The shadows crept into Jack Montfort's small office, filling the corners with a comfortable dimness.

Gemma has put a distance between herself and Duncan, so when Duncan receives a call from his cousin Jack in Glastonbury, he persuades Gemma to come along for a long weekend. What they find when they get there is quite interesting. Jack has been experiencing something known as automatic writing involving a monk who lived in Glastonbury Abbey almost a thousand years ago. To make sense of it, he's fallen in with a small group of interested people. Since then, his fiance Winnie has been struck by a car and is in the hospital, and another member of the group has been murdered. Duncan and Gemma are facing a working holiday in order to sort all this lot out.

Crombie has a deft touch with dual plot lines, one present, one past. The setting of Glastonbury is also quite strong--very atmospheric and rather creepy. It seems that everyone in that group has a motive for murder, and it was fun following all the twists and turns to the end. Duncan and Gemma's relationship continues to grow and is as much of a draw as the mystery itself.

I tend to read my favorite series at a leisurely pace, hoping that I won't get to the point where I'm eagerly awaiting the next one to be published. All my careful plotting may be for naught now that my husband has become a fan. I read A Finer End sooner than I wanted because he's already gone through the previous six, one right after the other, and kept asking where the seventh was. All the books I have in the series are right out in plain sight, but as long as he won't look for them perhaps I'm safe! I was interested in his reaction to the books, since he is British and reading a series set in the UK written by an American author. Obviously, Crombie has passed the Denis Test. He's only had two very minor complaints so far: (1) the name of a beer was misspelled, and (2) she mentions someone giving a one-fingered salute to another person, when they use two fingers for that in the UK.

If you like mysteries that draw you in, that have interesting plots and evolving characters that you come to care about, and you haven't tried Deborah Crombie...what are you waiting for?

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