Crombie, Deborah. And Justice There Is None.

NY: Bantam, 2002.

This is one of Crombie’s best efforts, largely because it focuses more on newly-promoted Detective Inspector Gemma James than on her erstwhile partner and continuing love interest, Superintendent Duncan Kincaid. Gemma has been transferred to Notting Hill, where she takes up her duties as a lead investigator, while Kincaid finds himself having to break in a new sergeant.

At the same time, the two of them are in the midst of setting up house together — it’s much easier to go public with their relationship, now that she’s no longer reporting directly to him. And this includes her small son (whom she has been raising by herself), his adolescent son (only recently discovered), two dogs, and a cat. And then Gemma discovers she’s pregnant. Talk about a “blended family”!

But all that is just the background. The story this time is set in the world of the Portobello Road antiques market, where operators of small stalls compete with high-end dealers with fancy shops. The young trophy wife of the owner of one such shop is murdered in her own driveway, nearly in public view, and there seems to be a superfluity of suspects as Gemma begins digging into things. Then similarities appear to a killing a few weeks before, and not far away, which Kincaid was handling, and the two of them find themselves in professional harness once again. And again, it’s a plot with roots deep in the past, this time in the Swinging Sixties and the beginnings of the middle-class drugs scene, the arrival of Caribbean immigrants in a once all-white community, and a variety of previously unknown and unanticipated family connections among the locals. Crombie does an even better job than usual in delineating the players and if you’ve been reading the series from the beginning, you’ll have no trouble empathizing with many of them. And while there’s a bit of tragedy at the end, it’s clear that Gemma James is on the way to making a new life for herself, and for those around her. I don’t generally use words like “endearing,” but in this case it fits nicely.

Published in: on 29 December 2012 at 5:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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