Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

Deborah Crombie's The Sound of Broken Glass is a haunting story intertwining the past and the present. Her books are always fresh, as she alternates cases between her detectives, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James. The addition of their personal lives, and the lives of their co-workers, is just one more added pleasure. A perplexing story, a police procedural, and personal stories. Mysteries don't get any better than ones by Deborah Crombie.

Crystal Palace is an area of South London, but it is also the term for The Great Exhibition, a building moved to Crystal Palace Park in 1854, and destroyed by fire in 1936. Crombie's chapter headings tell the history of the building, and the area. And, the story starts there, fifteen years earlier, when a lonely thirteen-year-old boy meets the widow next door. That meeting changes both of their lives, but it ends in tragedy. And, neither of them could have ever predicted the terrible repercussions of that summer.

Fifteen years later, Kincaid is taking his turn on leave to take care of their foster child, Charlotte, while Gemma is back on the job, now heading up a Murder Investigation Team in South London. She and team are called to the site of a brutal murder in Crystal Palace, where a barrister has been found dead in a hotel room, naked, bound, and strangled. But, their search for a killer takes some unexpected turns. When another barrister is killed the same way, they scramble to find a link between the two victims. And, every clue and every suspect sends them back to Crystal Palace.

The Sound of Broken Glass is a complex mystery with unexpected twists. And the personalities add a wonderful depth to the novel. Duncan Kincaid is eager to return to work, but his hands are tied while Charlotte is so needy. So, he finds ways to stay busy, including a few conversations with people involved in Gemma's case. And, Gemma's assistant, Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot, finds herself jeopardizing the investigation. Crombie is a master at tying all the elements, investigations and personal lives, together to bring the story to a satisfying conclusion. At the same time, she leaves the reader wanting more, eager for the continuation of the stories of Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James.

Every time I read one of Deborah Crombie's books, I think she can't get any better. Every time, she proves me wrong. The Sound of Broken Glass is the latest in a string of riveting, well-written, meaty novels by a master of the police procedural mystery.

Deborah Crombie's website is

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie. William Morrow. 2013. ISBN 9780061990632 (hardcover), 359p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'd seen this book featured in your "New Arrivals" post earlier in the month and bought it last night. :) It's started off beautifully, and sounds like the rest of the book will be equally good. Thanks for being such a reliable source for finding great books!

Lesa said...

Oh, Elizabeth! Thank you. The rest of the book is equally good, with surprises. When you read as many mysteries as you and I do, it's fun to find the ones that continue to surprise you.

Beth Hoffman said...

I must say that you've once again hooked me, Lesa! Fabulous review.

Lesa said...

Terrific book, Beth, and I didn't even cover some of the meat of this one.

Jane R said...

This series by Crombie is one of my very favorites. I've been waiting patiently (sort of) for the release of this title. Now I'll have to arm wrestle my husband to see who gets to read it first! Thanks for the great review!

Karen C said...

Sounds terrific; on my TBR list!

Susan said...

I read one of her earlier ones (I think I posted this on your earlier post) and have been picking up all the titles in the series so I can read them in order. It's good to know she gets better and better each time out!

By the way, I just finished Wide Open by Deborah Coates which I picked up because of your mention of it on your best of 2012, and I loved it! I will be reviewing it shortly. Thank you!!! I would have taken longer to find out about it without your list.

Lesa said...

And, I didn't give away too much in the review, so none of you will find spoilers here.

Susan, Coates' next book is due out next week. I haven't read it yet, but I hope to get it read by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Rosemary said...

Hi Lesa,

I used to live about 5 minutes from Crystal Palace, but I've never heard of this writer, so I'm away to look her up right now. I wonder if she features the wonderful Greek Cypriot owned fish & chip shop that we used to frequent every Friday night?!

Thanks for this review - as others have already said, you lead us to so many wonderful books, where would we be without you?!


Tina said...

I love this series, but I'm seriously behind. I MUST start catching up and you've given me a great incentive to get going.