Published by William Morrow ISBN 9780062271648
Trade paperback, $14.99, 414 pages
The first book I read by Deborah Crombie was the 14th in her Gemma James/Duncan Kincaid mystery series No Mark Upon Her. When a female rower, who happened to be a Met detective, drowns under mysterious circumstances, Scotland Yard detectives James and Kincaid are on the case.
I was immediately drawn into the story, thanks mostly to the interesting characters. Gemma and Duncan are work and life partners, and we get to know the other detectives, Melody and Doug, who assist them. The central London area where the action takes place is also an intriguing character.
Crombie's 17th book in the series, The Garden of Lamentations, begins a few years later. Although I have missed a few books in between, I was able to pick up without missing too much.
A young nanny is found dead in a walled off garden area, accessible only by the people who live adjacent to it. Gemma is drawn into the investigation by a friend of hers who lives near there.
Meanwhile, when an undercover cop is found dead, a suspected suicide, Kincaid is contacted by his former boss, whom he hasn't talked to since the boss abruptly transferred Kincaid. After Kincaid meets with his boss in a restaurant, the boss is attacked and left for dead.
Kincaid becomes obsessed with the attack and the possible connection to the undercover cop's death. Was it really suicide or is it something more sinister? Are cops being targeted and is he next?
In this story, everyone seems to be split up and pulled apart. Melody takes over Gemma's responsibilities while Gemma is pulled into the dead nanny's murder. Doug is no longer working with Kincaid. Kincaid's preoccupation with his case has kept him away from his and Gemma's children- teenage Kit, seven-year-old Toby and three year-old Charlotte. Gemma is upset that he is not confiding in her.
It took me awhile to get into The Garden of Lamentations, but once I did, I couldn't stop reading until I was done. The neighborhood where the nanny was killed is filled with many interesting Agatha Christie-like characters- the parents who lost a young son last year and blamed the dead nanny, a busybody woman obsessed with the garden, the nanny's highstrung boss and her son who wants to be a ballet dancer- that took a bit to keep straight.
Kincaid's investigation leads him back to the case from No Mark Upon Her, as well as to an incident from 1994 involving an undercover police operation infiltrating possible terrorist organizations. There is alot to keep track of here, but Crombie keeps her eye on the ball and everything comes together in the end.
I liked that there are so many female police officers in the story. Gemma, Melody, Gemma's new partner in the nanny investigation is a woman, and later in the story we meet a high ranking woman in Scotland Yard. It's no big deal here, the way it should be.
Fans of Irish mystery writer Tana French (The Dublin Murder Squad series) will like Deborah Crombie's The Garden of Lamentations. They both write taut, character-driven mysteries that immerse the reader in the location of the story. I highly recommend The Garden of Lamentations, although I will say that this perhaps is not a good book to jump into the series with. People who have read previous books in the series will get much more out of it.
Deborah Crombie's website is here.
My review of No Mark Upon Her is here.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Deborah Crombie's tour. The rest of her stops are here:
Wednesday, November 15th: Into the Hall of Books
Thursday, November 16th: bookchickdi
Friday, November 17th: 5 Minutes For Books
Friday, November 17th: Thoughts From a Highly Caffeinated Mind
Monday, November 20th: Tina Says…
Tuesday, November 21st: Tales of a Book Addict
Wednesday, November 22nd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, November 27th: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, November 28th: Jathan & Heather
Wednesday, November 29th: Mama Reads Blog
Thursday, November 30th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Friday, December 1st: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Monday, December 4th: Ace and Hoser Blook