In her first case as a DCI, Gemma James is called to a seedy hotel room in Crystal Palace, where a man has been discovered dead in what looks like a sex game gone wrong. The victim, Vincent Arnott, was a barrister who liked to play around with women, even though he was married. While investigating Arnott's movements on the night he died, Gemma and DS Melody Talbot discover that he had an altercation with guitarist Andy Monahan at a pub. Andy grew up in Crystal Palace and pretty much raised himself, since his mother was an alcoholic. When Melody meets Andy, they feel a connection, but it's awkward, since Andy seems connected to Arnott's murder (even though he's not a suspect). Gemma's husband, Duncan, meanwhile, has been on personal leave from the force, taking care of their foster daughter, Charlotte. He's trying to find a school in their Notting Hill neighborhood that would be a good fit for her. He's assimilated to the routine of stay-at-home dad, but does wonder when he'll be able to go back to work. In this latest book in the James/Kincaid mystery series, Crombie gives the reader a very interesting sense of place in the London neighborhood of Crystal Palace, an ever-evolving set of characters that you care about, and a mystery that you wonder about until the very end. Well done!
I'm a Reader's Advisory librarian who left librarianship for domestic...uh...bliss.
From 1992-2003 I worked at the Downers Grove (IL) Public Library. I served on YALSA's Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (1998-2000, chair 2000) and Quick Picks for Relunctant Young Adult Readers (2001-2003, chair 2002). I wrote the article "Zap! Woosh! Kerplow! Build High Quality Graphic Novel Collections With Impact" (School Library Journal, January 1997). I still do substitute work at the Downers Grove Public Library.