There are certainly other authors writing police procedurals who do an excellent job, but I don't know if there's anyone right now who does a better job than Deborah Crombie. I'd certainly recommend that you read earlier books in the series featuring Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, but you don't have to in order to understand the characters and story. Crombie gives readers enough background that you can jump right into the twisted mystery, No Mark Upon Her.
Becca Meredith was a strong rower, in her mid-thirties, determined to make a last effort to make the Olympic team. So, when she didn't show up one morning after going out rowing, and her ex-husband reported her missing, those closest to her couldn't imagine she had an accident. And, when evidence showed she was murdered, naturally the police looked first at Becca's ex, Freddie Atterton. But, Duncan Kincaid, called to the case just as he was about to take personal leave, wasn't satisfied with Freddie as a suspect. Becca might have been a rower, but she was also Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Meredith of the Metropolitan Police. And, Duncan was suspicious as to why he'd been ordered to take this case. When murder was followed by a bombing, Kincaid knew there was something not quite right about his case.
Gemma was itching to get back to work after her leave with their new foster daughter. Even in the midst of planning an Alice in Wonderland theme birthday party, she found time to do some digging into Rebecca's background. Along with a colleague, she found some horrifying information that could lead straight back to the Met. When Gemma and Duncan started to put their information together, he was angry at attempts to direct him toward one suspect. And, Gemma challenged him. "What about Rebecca Meredith? Don't you ant to know who killed her? Doesn't she deserve an answer, regardless of the consequences?"
Deborah Crombie's latest Kincaid/James novel is fascinating, with the details of the rowing world, and the mystery itself, as the police slowly follow the trail of a killer. She smoothly integrates the professional and personal lives of these characters, bringing their family and their characters to life. That family life makes the characters human. They're not just police officers. The characters have backstories, and their lives don't end at work. They have children, family problems, child care issues. Crombie's stories are successful because of the characters as well as her skill in building and developing a mystery.
And, Crombie's Kincaid and James will investigate this disturbing case regardless of the consequences. Duncan and Gemma aren't sure what this case will do to their careers, but they'll see it through. And, they'll see it through in a twisted, surprising investigation filled with lies and cover-ups. At times it seems as if everything they believe in could be wrong. As the Queen told Alice, "Why sometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Deborah Crombie's website is www.deborahcrombie.com
No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie. William Morrow. 2012. ISBN 9780061990618 (hardcover), 369p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.