Crombie Deborah. Mourn Not Your Dead.

NY: Scribner, 1996.

Crombie writes entertaining British mystery novels, but the plots so far don’t especially stand out — even though they’re not bad. In this one, a thoroughly unlikeable senior police office is murdered with a blunt instrument in the kitchen of his suburban home and Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sgt. Gemma James have to investigate. He was a pompous, sanctimonious tyrant who had no end of at least low-grade enemies

— including his wife, and his step-daughter, and the publican across the road, and the local doctor and vicar, and most of the village shopkeepers, as well as Kincaid himself. There are almost too many potential suspects. Nevertheless, I had figured out whodunit a third of the way in, including the probable motive. (Although I never found any resolution about the murder of Gemma’s friend, Jackie. The main Bad Guy claimed he didn’t do it — so who did? And why?) But the most interesting and enjoyable part of the story is the stumbling relationship between Kincaid and Jemma. At the end of the previous book, they had fallen into bed together — always a bad idea for two people on the job, and Gemma knows it. Has she managed to sabotage her career? But Duncan has slowly been developing serious feelings about her all along and he doesn’t quite see what the problem is, . . . which also annoys her a little. Watching them trying sort it all out, to figure out how to both work together and be together, is actually the focus here. (Even though, in real life, a physical relationship between a cop and his subordinate three grades down the ladder would almost certainly get him sanctioned, and her transferred at the very least.) It’s a pretty fast read and not terribly deep. Still, Crombie is very good at delineating characters and personalities and that’s enough to keep me reading.

Published in: on 26 October 2012 at 6:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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