Deborah Crombie's books always remind me why police procedurals are my favorite sub-genre of mysteries. To Dwell in Darkness, her latest superb novel, unites the agony of discovery, the repetitive nature of police work, the excellent instincts of hardworking officers, and the family life and friendships that tie this series together. It's a riveting entry in the long-running series featuring Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Detective Inspector Gemma James.
Kincaid has never really told Gemma that he suspects her promotion was to keep him quiet. And, now he's been banished from his Scotland Yard position to an area major-incident team based in Holborn, He's angry and displeased with his demotion, but, he's in the right spot when all hell breaks loose, and his friends need help.
Musicians Andy Monahan and Poppy Jones are opening a music festival at historic St. Pancras International Station. Since she's dating Andy, Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot is on the scene when a man goes up in flames, and other people are injured. Along with other witnesses, she reports seeing a group of protesters just before he man caught fire. Kincaid's team works with Counter Terrorism, until they can determine if the victim meant to incinerate only himself, or if his death was part of a bombing that went wrong. With the help of his former sergeant, along with Melody and Gemma, Kincaid uncovers layers of lies. And, he begins to wonder if his transfer was also part of layers of deception.
Crombie keeps this series fresh by alternating the focus of the books; sometimes Kincaid's cases are the primary storyline; other times the focus is on Gemma's. As police officers, they deal with complicated cases, discussing them with each other, looking for a different angle. Yet, they are both working parents who still have to handle situations at home, from illness to new kittens. And, this time, Kincaid's case leads dangerously close to home.
Like the best police procedurals, cases may be solved after a great deal of work, but there are remnants left over for the next book. Arrests are made, but some deaths and problems remain unresolved. Characters and storylines continue from book to book, but a new reader can easily pick up the threads. In the case of To Dwell in Darkness, Crombie leaves the reader and Duncan Kincaid with questions. Those questions, though, are perfect hooks to leave the reader wanting more of Kincaid and James.
Superb. I used the word earlier. To Dwell in Darkness was one of the best books I read this year, one of the best entries in this compelling series. Crombie writes of police and crime and family, sets her books against the fascinating landscape of London, and creates her own world as beautifully as anyone writing police procedurals today.
Deborah Crombie's website is www.deborahcrombie.com
To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie. William Morrow. 2014. ISBN 9780062271600 (hardcover), 324p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.