Crombie, Deborah. All Shall Be Well.

NY: Scribner, 1994.

This is the second outing for Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard, and it’s quite as enjoyable as the first one. Kincaid lives on the top floor of a three-flat building in Hampstead and below him is Jasmine Dent, only a decade or so older than he but dying of lung cancer.

Jasmine is a very, very private person but she and Kincaid have become quietly good friends in the months since she has had to leave work and prepare for her painful death. Then, one morning when both her visiting day nurse and Meg, from her old job, and who has sort of adopted her, come calling, they find Jasmine’s body, which a post mortem shows to be filled with morphine. An understandable suicide to avoid terminal pain, right? Kincaid, who had to pick the lock so they could get into the flat, isn’t at all sure. So, naturally, he begins an unofficial investigation with the aid of Sgt. Gemma James, who is his antithesis in background and style but the two make a good team.

As in the first book, Crombie is quite good at delineating character. In fact, the enjoyment here is less in the mystery, I think, and more in learning the histories of the people involved and in their deep relationships — especially through the entries in the journal Jasmine kept all her life. The retired Major Keith, who lives in the basement and commands the garden, has his own rather sad story, and so does young Meg. Gemma has tribulations in her own life, both psychological and practical, and there are hints that something interestingly unprofessional may be quietly brewing in the background between her and her boss. Crombie provides a fast but engaging read.

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Published in: on 19 October 2012 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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