Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Sound of Broken Glass - Deborah Crombie

I only 'discovered' Deborah Crombie last year when I read No Mark Upon Her. (my review - I loved it) I have been eagerly awaiting the next entry in her Duncan Kincaid/ Gemma James series. The Sound of Broken Glass (#15) releases today.

Kincaid and James are husband and wife and both work for Scotland Yard. Duncan is staying at home right now with their three year old daughter and Gemma is heading up her first big murder case.

Who has been killed? A prominent lawyer - found in a rundown hotel in Crystal Palace, naked and tied up. Is it a sex game gone wrong? Or a sadistic killer? But then a second lawyer is found killed the same way - and there's evidence to link the two cases. As Gemma digs deeps deeper, she finds unexpected connections to her life. In flashback chapters, we also slowly learn of a young man's past and his upbringing in the Crystal Palace neighbourhood. What connection does he have to the present day?

Crombie is a master of plotting. There was no dearth of suspects and I was kept guessing until the end. The investigation is solid police work and I enjoyed solving the crime along with Gemma and her team. But woven through this main storyline is a running secondary storyline - that of Duncan and Gemma's personal life. And it is this 'personal' touch that has cemented Crombie on my must read list. Although others may complain that domestic details of characters may detract from a good mystery, I find quite the opposite. I feel they gave the story much more depth and make the characters 'real' and all the more believable. This same attention to detail is given to the secondary players as well. The result is a well rounded cast, all with their own tale to tell. I've become invested in each of their lives and want to see where Crombie takes everyone from here.

There's a third thread also wound about the story - that of The Crystal Palace itself. Although the name now denotes an area of South London, the history behind this plate-glass building originally erected to house the Great Exhibition of 1851 is truly fascinating. Every chapter starts out with a quote or a paragraph chronicling the history of the building. And again, Crombie is very clever with her choices. Read carefully, they mirror what is happening in the book.

The Sound of Broken Glass was a satisfying read on so many levels - one I would definitely recommend. Crombie ends the book with a cliff hanger - I will be again eagerly awaiting the next in this wonderful series. Read an excerpt of The Sound of Broken Glass. Fans of Louise Penny and Susan Hill would enjoy these characters.

You can find Deborah Crombie on Twitter and on Facebook.

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