Deborah Crombie is a New York Times bestselling author and a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She now lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.
This talented American debuts with an energetic ``British'' mystery. When New Scotland Yard detective Duncan Kincaid finally takes a well-deserved vacation at a Yorkshire time-share resort, he becomes involved in the murder of an employee there. He enlists the aid of his London partner, Sergeant Gemma James, and the two gather enough material to weed through the resident/suspect young politician, spinster sister, adulterous lovers, etc. Great continuity, clever plotting, and hidden agendas all contribute to a successful novel.
This polished mystery seems more the work of a seasoned genre master than the first novel it is. Det. Supt. Duncan Kincaid, spending his vacation from Scotland Yard at a Yorkshire time-share along with several other guests, finds his holiday anything but relaxing. Immediately after he arrives at the elegant estate, he overhears a heated argument between the snobbish caretaker and her sarcastic assistant manager. Late that evening, the assistant is electrocuted in the Jacuzzi. To the consternation of Yorkshire police, Kincaid assumes an active role in the investigation, which becomes more urgent after two more deaths. Meanwhile, Sgt. Gemma James, a pragmatic single mother charmed by Kincaid's unpretentious demeanor and bachelor status, digs for additional clues in London. Crombie, a Texan, has written a convincingly British whodunit, limning Kincaid and James with the ease and authority of one who has already completed several installments in a series. Readers will surely welcome follow-up appearances. (Feb.)