Thursday, July 01, 2010

Necessary As Blood by Deborah Crombie

Title: Necessary As Blood
Author: Deborah Crombie
ISBN: 9780061287534
Publishing Information: Hardcover, 378 pages, William Morrow, 2009
Genre: Police Procedural, #13 Kincaid & James mystery
Rating: A+
Source: Paperback Swap

First Line: The streets were greasy with moisture.

I don't know of another mystery series that I read in which the characters' personal lives are every bit as important to me as the investigation. By this, the thirteenth book, I feel like an old family friend as I read about Scotland Yard's Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his Detective Inspector Gemma James who works out of the Notting Hill station in London. Everyone in their families wants Duncan and Gemma married as quickly as possible, but Gemma doesn't seem to be as keen. Then something happens that puts all thoughts of marriage out of her mind.

Two months previously, a talented textile artist named Sandra Gilles left her three-year-old daughter with a friend at a flower stall in an open market. She said she'd be back in a few minutes. She never returned. Now her husband, Naz Malik, is missing. When his body is found, Gemma is concerned not only with finding out what happened to Sandra and Naz, but in ensuring that their daughter is taken care of properly. Seeing her name on reports of the crime, Duncan Kincaid and his partner, Doug Cullen, decide to join in the investigation.

For those who care more for the story than the characters and the characters' lives, I would imagine that this book would be a disappointment. For me, it was a feast. The actual investigation was convoluted enough that I didn't guess what had happened, and I enjoyed the background history of London's East End that was skillfully woven into the story. Marriage plans, sick parents, and two of the most realistically drawn children in fiction all added to an extremely pleasurable read.

I read a lot of mystery series. I don't think there's any way in the world that I can ever finish them all. Normally it's a sign of how much I enjoy a series by how "caught up" I am. Crombie has written thirteen books in this series, and this is a review of number thirteen. The only negative thing about this Cathy-esque mark of respect is that now I have to wait for the next book to be published.

Guess I'm going to have to make a dent in some of those other series, eh? Duncan, Gemma-- HURRY UP!


  1. Cathy - Oh, I like this series, too. I'm so glad you like it, and this is a fine review of this entry into it.

  2. I think that's the best part of a good series - mystery of not - getting emotionally invested in the characters. Great review!

  3. This series is on my to-look-for list which unfortunately has grown to mountainous proportions.

  4. I think I read the first book in this series years ago. Not sure why I didn't continue because I'm pretty sure I liked it. There are just so many mystery series that I want to read though. AAAGHGH!!! LOL

  5. Margot-- Thank you!

    Kathy-- Thanks! I tend to think that non-character-driven readers seem to be quieter than the rest of us.

    Barbara-- At least it means that you'll never run out of books to read.... ;)

    Kay-- It's going to be on my tombstone: "She started 3254 mystery series & only finished 489 of them." ;)

  6. I love getting close to the characters. You have two A+ reviews in a row. Man. You're killing me here. I have books to read. I don't need this. I wonder if I can get the series in audio . . . Sigh.

  7. Beth-- Denis almost answered this, but must've gotten shy at the last second. He's suddenly become audio book crazy, and he loves this series. He went searching, and he told me that it looks as though all the books are available on audio, but they may not be available all at the same place. You may luck out with your own library system, though.


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