Reviews by L. J. Roberts

DEBORAH CROMBIE – No Mark Upon Her. William Morrow, hardcover, February 2012.

Genre:   Police procedural. Leading character:  Det. Supt. Duncan Kincaid; 14th in series. Setting:   England.


First Sentence:   A glance at the sky made her swear aloud.

   Police Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Meredith, also an Olympic rowing contender, has gone missing. When a K9 team locates her body, it is clear her rowing accident was no accident. Pressure in brought to bear on Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid to solve the case quickly and quietly, but things are not as simple as they appear.

   On a personal level, one thing I enjoyed about this particular book is the setting; it’s one of the few areas of England I’ve been fortunate enough to visit and come to know. I’ve always appreciated Ms. Crombie’s vivid descriptions, but this was especially fun for me.

   Although I am always glad to move away from the angst-driven detective to those who have families and personal lives, there can be way too much of a good thing. The case and the mystery were very nearly drowned in details of Duncan Kincaid and his wife Gemma’s life. While that adds veracity to the characters and story, I found it overwhelming and distracting to the point where I was close to not finishing the book.

   What saved it, for me, is that Ms. Crombie does write a very good police procedural. There is good tension and some very well-done plot twists. Sadly, I correctly identified the killer almost from the first appearance in the story.

   Ms. Crombie is a wonderful writer. Unfortunately, No Mark Upon Her was, for me, far from her best book. I’d prefer to see her leave the kids and the dogs more in the background and focus on her fine ability to write a really good mystery.

Rating:   Okay.