Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm kicking off the TLC blog tour for Deborah Crombie's latest, A Bitter Feast, which releases today!

Gemma and Duncan are set to spend a few days in the country courtesy of their friend and fellow officer, Melody Talbot. Melody, the daughter of a society matron and a newspaper mogul, has invited Gemma, Duncan, their three children, and Doug, another of their friends, to visit her family estate where her mother has been planning a luncheon to show off the talent of local pub owner and chef, Viv Holland. Of course, it's a charity luncheon, meant to raise money and awareness, but Melody knows well that her mother believes she's doing Viv a favor in introducing her talent more broadly. 

Unfortunately, the event catches the eye of one of Viv's old colleagues, a celebrity chef who's fallen on hard times. When he shows up at Viv's pub demanding an audience, it creates quite the scene. And later, when he's found dead in a car accident that involves Kincaid himself, it seems the police have a true mystery on their hands. 

The accident claims the life of a local woman who has no determinable connection to the chef. But his presence in her car is the least of it. It appears the man in question was dead prior to the actual accident. And since Nell, the driver, can't answer any questions herself, it falls to the local detectives to find out what's going on. Seeing as how Kincaid is affected directly, it's no stretch that both he and Gemma soon find themselves involved in the investigation.

This is the eighteenth installment in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series! Eighteenth! Crombie kicked off the series in 1993 with A Share in Death and has been at it ever since.

Diving into a new book in this series is like slipping on your favorite sweater. It's such a comfort returning to characters I've grown to know and love throughout the series. And that's just one of my favorite parts: the characters.

Crombie excels at characters. The development and growth of the series regulars as well as the slew of new characters introduced at the heart of each new book is something not many authors can pull off. She does it, in part, by offering up varying perspectives throughout the book. And in less deft hands this would likely be jarring, but Crombie pulls it off!

In A Bitter Feast, not only are Gemma, Duncan, Melody, and Doug all continuing their own stories, but new and peripheral character are as well. Kit gets to spread his wings a bit, for example. And we also get pieces of Viv's own perspective, Booth (the detective on the case), and other players in the village as well.

This gives us a chance to become truly invested in the characters and their story. It also gives us a chance to try and solve the mystery ourselves!

And that's my other favorite aspect of this series: the mysteries! Crombie's careful plotting and deliberate doling out of clues makes each new book such a fun read! They're also the perfect blend of cozy and dark elements, toeing the line between the two types of mysteries and offering up just enough of the dark stuff to satisfy a reader like myself, while also being perfect reads for folks who shy away from heavier genre fare!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Deborah Crombie and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Jan M. Flynn said...

I have huge admiration for authors who can pull off a story like this!

Sara Strand said...

This sounds like such a great fall read, thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

Unknown said...

This is a great read as Deborah Crombie's books almost always are. She is excellent with both characters and mystery and each book is like an interesting visit with old friends. I hope she keeps going till book number one hundread eighteen!