Wednesday, February 13, 2013

No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie

Morning, all! I'm a stop on the TLC tour for Deborah Crombie's No Mark Upon Her the latest Kincaid/James mystery released in paperback.

Becca Meredith was an avid rower and a one-time Olympic hopeful. Some say she'd still have a shot today if she set her mind to it. It's something she'd been considering, but it would mean leaving her detective position with the Metropolitan Police Service. When her body is discovered floating in the river, just a short way from her boat, no one believes it's an accident. But who would want her dead? She and her ex husband seemed to be on good standing and there are no other obvious suspects. Duncan Kincaid is called in to investigate and as he delves deeper into the detective's life, he discovers she's been hiding things from those closest to her. Then a member of the search and rescue team that found her is attacked as well. Meanwhile, Gemma begins her own investigation -- one that may lead to the prime suspect in Becca's murder. 

I had a harder time jumping into this series than I have with others of late. Which is not to say that it's a bad starting point, but that I was very conscious of the fact that I was missing a massive amount of backstory. Every detail pertaining to Charlotte, for example. Also, Gemma's and Duncan's histories with Doug and Melody (and Doug and Melody's relationship as well). That aside, I was impressed by the amount of focus on the characters in Crombie's latest. Sometimes in mysteries you find series that feature great plots and transparent characters or fabulous characters and thin plots, not so with Crombie judging by No Mark Upon Her.

The story itself is very well built and I loved the pacing. It's a bit on the slow side but I honestly enjoy that when a book is as good as this one. The rowing aspect was interesting -- it's kind of akin to a foreign world for me. Rowing is not a sport that's common where I'm from or where I live (we're more likely to canoe back home and we're pretty landlocked now, sadly). It brought to mind Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series since Tess is also a rower. That was pretty much my introduction to the sport but Lippman doesn't go into quite the detail that Crombie does here.

I'm generally a fan of darker mysteries and thrillers, and I really like that Crombie's style, like Louise Penny (who's blurbed on the cover), is a little on the dark side. I think she's quite balanced in style, actually, bridging the gap between lighter cozies and truly darker series, thereby able to appeal to fans of both styles.

I'm a bit puzzled as to how I've managed to go this long without reading one of Crombie's books! As an avid mystery reader, my only guess is that I'd been apprehensive of tackling yet another series -- those mystery writers are long winded with their series! I kid, I rather enjoy getting to know a character that well. I've no doubt long time fans of Crombie's series are very attached to Gemma and Duncan. Fortunately, just as No Mark Upon Her has hit shelves in paperback, the latest addition to the series is hitting shelves in hardcover: The Sound of Broken Glass will be released on Feb 19.

If you're interested in starting from the beginning, series order is as follows:

A Share in Death
All Shall Be Well
Leave the Grave Green
Mourn Not Your Dead
Dreaming of the Bones
Kissed a Sad Goodbye
A Finer End
And Justice There is None
Now You May Weep
In a Dark House
Water Like a Stone
Where Memories Lie
Necessary as Blood
No Mark Upon Her
The Sound of Broken Glass

To see more stops on the tour, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Deborah and her work, visit her official site here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


Kelly said...

Oh I also love darker mysteries! I was actually just going through my bookshelves trying to find one to read next. This looks good!

Becky LeJeune said...

Ooh, have you ever read any Erin Kelly? I have to suggest her as well -- she has a new one due out next Tuesday. UK psychological thrillers, all stand alones.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I hope you do have a chance to go back and read the previous books in this series - it sounds like you'd really enjoy getting to know these characters better!

Thanks for being on the tour.