Thursday, September 25, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie



In the tradition of Elizabeth George, Louise Penny, and P. D. James, "New York Times" bestselling author Deborah Crombie delivers a powerful tale of intrigue, betrayal, and lies that will plunge married London detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James into the unspeakable darkness that lies at the heart of murder.

Recently transferred to the London borough of Camden from Scotland Yard headquarters, Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his new murder investigation team are called to a deadly bombing at historic St. Pancras Station. By fortunate coincidence, Melody Talbot, Gemma's trusted colleague, witnesses the explosion. The victim was taking part in an organized protest, yet the other group members swear the young man only meant to set off a smoke bomb. As Kincaid begins to gather the facts, he finds every piece of the puzzle yields an unexpected pattern, including the disappearance of a mysterious bystander.

The bombing isn't the only mystery troubling Kincaid. He s still questioning the reasons behind his transfer, and when his former boss who's been avoiding him is attacked, those suspicions deepen. With the help of his former sergeant, Doug Cullen, Melody Talbot, and Gemma, Kincaid begins to untangle the truth. But what he discovers will leave him questioning his belief in the job that has shaped his life and his values and remind him just how vulnerable his precious family is.



I got this book in the mail yesterday afternoon.  I finished reading it shortly before midnight.

Seeing this is the 16th installment of the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series, the characters are well-established.  I also had to switch tracks (a little bonus train analogy there) from the American Line to the English line as 'cell phone' became 'mobile', 'gas' became 'petrol' and 'officer' became 'constable'.  But as I am a serious anglophile, that part came easy.

Although I did visit London when I was a child, it has been a long time ago, so I was very grateful for the map inside the cover and in particular the marking of the important locations in the story.

In a London train station, busy with both commuter traffic and a concert, an incendiary grenade is detonated.  First, it was only supposed to be a smoke bomb, to draw the media's attention to a protest group.  But the man burst into flame due to the device containing phosphorus.  So: who made the switch, and why?  This is one of many, many riddles Superintendent Kincaid and his team (both formal and informal) must unravel.

Many of the players (on both sides of the law) cannot be taken at face value.  Everyone has their own motive and story.  This one will keep you guessing right up until the end.

And, Ms. Crombie has given us one of the best 'hooks' to whet our appetites for future books.  I got to the end, and turned the page, expecting there to be more.  I was like, "WHAT," and tried to find out when the 17th installment will be coming out.

At least we can go to GoodReads and TBR the earlier books in the series.  And it's great that we can do it all with one click for each book from the author's page.  Now, GoodReads needs to get a "one click to TBR all of an author's books" button.

"To Dwell in Darkness" reads very well as a standalone novel.   But if the first 15 are as good as this one, I'll be a happy camper for quite a while.1


From Ms. Crombie's website:

Deborah Crombie was born in Dallas and grew up in Richardson, Texas, a suburb north of Dallas, second child of Charlie and Mary Darden. A rather solitary childhood (brother Steve is ten years older) was blessed by her maternal grandmother, Lillian Dozier, a retired teacher who taught her to read very early. After a rather checkered educational career, which included dropping out of high school at sixteen, she graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, with a degree in biology.

She then worked in advertising and newspapers, and attended the Rice University Publishing Program. A post-university trip to England, however, cemented a life-long passion for Britain, and she later immigrated to the UK with her first husband, Peter Crombie, a Scot, living first in Edinburgh, Scotland, and then in Chester, England.

After returning to Dallas and working for several years in her family business (manufacturer’s reps for theatre concessions) while raising her daughter Kayti, she wrote her first Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid/Sergeant Gemma James novel. A Share in Death [Scribner, 1993], was subsequently given Agatha and Macavity nominations for Best First Novel of 1993. The fifth novel, Dreaming of the Bones(Scribner 1997), a New York Times Notable Book for 1997, was short-listed by Mystery Writers of America for the 1997 Edgar Award for Best Novel, won the Macavity award for Best Novel, and was voted by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association as one of the hundred best mysteries of the century. Her subsequent novels have been received with critical acclaim and are widely read internationally, particularly in Germany.

In 2009, Where Memories Lie won the Macacity Award for Best Novel.  In 2010, Necessary as Blood received a Macavity nomination for Best Novel.

Crombie's novels are published in North America, Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Romania, Greece, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and numerous other countries.. The latest novel in the series, No Mark Upon Her, will be published in August, 2011 by Pan Macmillan in the UK, and in February, 2012 by William Morrow in the US.

Although she travels to England several times a year, Crombie now lives in McKinney, Texas, an historic town north of Dallas, sharing a 1905 house with her husband, Rick Wilson, two German shepherds (Hallie and Neela), and three cats. She is currently working on her fifteenth Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novel, as yet untitled. 


(Disclosure:  I received a copy of "To Dwell in Darkness" from the author and publisher via TLC Book Tours in Exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)

Booknificent Thursdays

Is your TBR shelf looking a little bare? (*lol* I know, as if!)  Well, fill that shelf (those shelves) to overflowing, by checking out other reader/reviewers books by clicking on the button above.  I love the word Tina's word 'booknificent' and party with her and the other folks as often as I can!


  1. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one as a stand alone but that you also want to read through her backlist as well!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    1. I don't know whether to be happy I found a great 'new-to-me' author, or worry because now I have FIFTEEN new books TBR! Thanks for having me on this tour, Heather!

  2. I love long series! Thanks for introducing me to this one! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday this week! Hope to see you again soon!