Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bookish Thoughts: No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie

No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie
William Morrow, 2012
Crime Fiction; 384 pgs

I have read a number of enjoyable mysteries of late, but this one . . . Oh, how I love thee, Deborah Crombie! Where have you been all my life and why haven't I read anything by you before? No Mark Upon Her is the 14th book in the series, I believe, but my first one by the author. It didn't matter that I didn't know the history of the characters (although, I am infinitely curious now and must know all!). The author offers enough background story to give the reader a good feel for the characters and their situations while at the same time not introducing irrelevant information.

What is the book about, you ask? A detective who is a skilled rower is found dead on the Thames. Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid is called back from vacation to investigate the matter. It's a particularly sensitive case, one in which people in high placed hope it will get resolved quickly, even if that means swept under the carpet. Duncan Kincaid, however, is not the kind of man to take the easy way out. He wants to find justice for the victim even if it means his job. His wife, a detective herself, helps on the sidelines while juggling the care of their three children.

Rowing isn't a particularly favorite sport of mine--I have nothing against it, mind you, just very little exposure to it--but I am not one to let something like that stand in my way of reading a book. I like learning about new things. That's part of what reading is all about, right?

I liked the way Crombie weaved the characters' personal stories in with the murder investigation. Seeing them at home, so to speak, made them all the more relatable. There was just enough of their personal life to give the reader a good idea of what kind of people the characters are and to understand their way of thinking.

I was quite taken with Duncan Kincaid. He is intelligent and open minded. He is also a good father. I especially liked how much he respects and loves his wife. Gemma James is just as strong a character as her husband, and I could appreciate her inner conflict--looking forward to getting back to work but at the same time not wanting to leave the children.

Two characters I wish I could get to know better but doubt I will see in future books are the K-9 rescue team, Keiran and Tavie and their dogs. Both seem like formidable people and it was impossible for me not to fall in love with a couple of rescue dogs. Keiran in particular won me over. He was a sad sort of character, dealing with a broken heart as well as quite a few health problems due to injuries incurred in war.

As for the investigation, the detectives did not have a lot to go on, and with pressures from above, they were faced with even more challenges. While I am not sure "sitting on the edge of my seat" is an apt description of the pacing of the book, I certainly had a hard time putting it down and couldn't wait to get back to it. The weekend everyone in the house was sick and I'd left the book at work was torture. I kept thinking of Becca and wondering what had happened to her.

No Mark Upon Her has it all: characters who get under your skin, an idyllic English setting, betrayal, ethical issues, family, suspense, and an itch to read more. Deborah Crombie has won me over with this one novel and is sure to become among my favorite mystery authors.

To learn more about Deborah Crombie and her books please visit the author's website.

Source: Book provided by the publisher through the BookBrowse First Impressions Program.

This book counts towards The Eclectic Reading Challenge.


© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

22 comments:

  1. This sounds good! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

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    1. I look forward to reading more in the series, Kelly.

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  2. Wow, I'm glad to know this one stands alone so well. I'm anxious to read it.

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    1. Kathy - It's nice when you can jump into a series without having to start at the beginning.

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  3. I haven't read anything by this author either but I'm definitely adding her books to my wishlist if you enjoyed her this much. I love finding new mystery authors (with large backlists) :) Great review!

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    1. Samantha - She's definitely worth checking out, Sam, if you get the chance. It is nice to know I have a lot of books by her still to enjoy. :-)

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  4. Though rowing is not a subject I am interested in either, you have managed to make me really curious and excited about this book. I love complex stories filled with well developed characters. I wonder if I should start with this book, or head way back to the beginning of the series? Off to check these out!

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    1. Heather - As much as I would recommend this book, I tend to be of the mind that starting at the beginning is always preferable if you have the choice--and time!

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  5. This sounds like one I will keep an eye out for. I do love crime fiction and am always looking for recommendations.

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    1. Kathleen - This is one worth trying. I can't wait to read more by this author.

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  6. Your opening paragraph sold me on this series...I will be hunting it down!

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    1. Staci - LOL I did go a little overboard at the beginning, didn't I? It's such a good book.

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  7. Wow, I had no idea you hadn't read any books in this series yet. You have some absolutely wonderful reading in store!

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    1. Cathy - I can't believe I hadn't given Crombie a chance before now.

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  8. I've read so many good things about this one that I want to go back and start at the beginning of the series.

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  9. I read one of her earlier ones and loved it so much I got the first 3....and now have to read them still. 14 now in the series! and this one sounds so good...so, start here, and then start over? Or start from the beginning? lol I'm glad it's still as good as the one I read - I think it was Kissed a Sad Goodbye, that I read. Great review, Wendy!

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    1. Susan - Isn't that always the way? We read one book and love it and then it takes us forever to get to the others. We have good intentions anyway.

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  10. I really enjoyed this one too, Wendy. And, like you, I wish I could get some follow up with the K9 handlers and their dogs :) I had not read Crombie's work before, but now I will again!

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    1. Wendy - I thought of you when I read about the K9 handlers actually. :-) I am glad you liked this one too!

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  11. I am, obviously, ridiculously behind on commenting and visiting blogs.

    I absolutely loved this book, too. I cannot wait to read more of Deborah Crombie's books. This is the first time I'm considering reading the series, beginning with book 1!
    I, too, want to get to know the K-9 team more and expect that's not going to happen :o( I really liked Kieran and Tavie. (I also wanted to see photos of Tavie's home! lol )

    I hope all of the books are this good...most of them, anyway!

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    1. It's never too late to comment! I haven't been able to get around to my favorite blogs other than through Google Reader lately, so no commenting at all. I always feel terrible about that. :-(

      I am glad you liked this one so much too. It's definitely a series I want to check out further!

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