Superintendent Duncan Kincaid investigates the murder of a colleague in Deborah Crombie’s No Mark Upon Her (Morrow: Feb.7, 2012 release). This latest addition to Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James mystery series finds Kincaid facing corruption among the most powerful members of London’s Metropolitan Police.
DCI Rebecca (Becca) Meredith had recently decided to resume training for an Olympic rowing event. When she fails to return home after practice one evening, a search-and -rescue team is summoned. Team members find Becca on the Thames, her dead body entangled in debris. The police soon conclude that she has been murdered.
Kincaid realizes that Becca’s own confrontational nature has provided him with an abundance of suspects from her professional life as well as from her personal one. Described by many as open-minded but difficult, Becca made enemies more easily than she made friends.
She had divorced her husband, Freddie Atterton, after learning of his infidelity. Although they continued to maintain an apparently friendly relationship, she knew Freddie disapproved of her plans to resume Olympic competition.
Becca also had recently broken off her brief affair with damaged Iraq War veteran Kieran Connolly. Kieran, a member of the Thames Valley Search and Rescue team, was among the first to locate Becca’s body, but he told no one of their past relationship.
At work, Becca had created an ongoing controversy with her accusation that Detective Assistant Commissioner Angus Craig had raped her and then had threatened her job if she reported his crime. Becca nonetheless did press charges against Craig, who later retired. Becca continued to resent the fact that no disciplinary action was taken against Craig.
Kincaid’s superior, Chief Superintendent Denis Childs, suggests that the case would be greatly simplified if Kincaid could prove Becca’s ex-husband to be the murderer. Kincaid resists this attempt to control his investigation; and with the help of his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, he continues his search for Becca’s killer regardless of the consequences for his own career.
Twice a winner of the Macavity award for her books in Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James mystery series, Deborah Crombie maintains the in-depth characterization in No Mark Upon Her that typifies her previous thirteen books. Although the secondary characters in this novel are strongly drawn, Crombie excels in her depiction of Duncan Kincaid as an honorable man confronting those lacking in honor.
“He wanted to know who this woman had been, who had liked her, loved her, hated her. He wanted to know how she had died,” writes Crombie of Kincaid as he surveys the crime scene. “And if someone was responsible for her death, he wanted to see justice done. This was what kept him on the job.”
Crombie, like her fellow mystery authors Martha Grimes and Elizabeth George, is an American who writes with convincing expertise about life in contemporary England. In No Mark Upon Her Crombie focuses on the British interest in competitive rowing. In the attached video filmed at the Leander Club, she discusses this sport as well as her own motives in writing the Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James series.
FTC Full Disclosure: A review copy of this work was provided by HarperCollins.