Crombie's Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his sergeant Gemma Jones make a welcome return, after All Shall Be Well, to investigate a suspicious drowning in the countryside outside London. The seemingly placid domestic life of distinguished conductor Sir Gerald Asherton and his wife, Dame Caroline Stowe, a renowned soprano, is disturbed when their son-in-law's body slips through the local lock and is dragged up to reveal suspicious bruises around the neck. The Ashertons' daughter Julia had recently left Connor, who was ``on good terms with pints and ponies.'' While her parents continued to lunch weekly with the victim in their stately home, Julia, who 20 years earlier had witnessed her little brother's death by drowning, has had nothing to do with him. The youthful, slightly rumpled Kincaid, his pleasant manner masking a keen intelligence, and the equally insightful, appealing Jones make little pretense that police work is objective, detached business. Occasionally Crombie lets their personal feelings-Kincaid's for the widow, Jones's for opera, and both for each other-outweigh the story. Nonetheless, the passages of the first drowning are haunting, the mystery is intriguing, the characters are well developed and the solution satisfies. Stay tuned. Author tour. (Feb.)
When police detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James (who are series regulars) investigate a suspicious drowning near London, they encounter a strange situation: the victim's widow-a painter whose father is a famous conductor and whose mother is a renowned opera singer-is oddly stand-offish and strangely unaffected by her husband's death. Crombie (All Shall Be Well, LJ 1/94) creates strategic tension by both establishing a parallel between this drowning and the childhood drowning death of the painter's brother and by juxtaposing two protagonists who feel-but struggle against-a mutual attraction. Lucid prose, well-focused plot, and all the trappings of a cosy British mystery-from a talented American author.