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by Deborah Crombie
William Morrow, February 2007
416 pages
ISBN: 0060525274

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The Christmas holidays aren’t very merry for the extended Jones and Kincaid clan in this 11th adventure for police officer Gemma Jones and Scotland Yard detective Duncan Kincaid. Gemma and Duncan are taking their blended family to meet their cousins and grandparents for the first time.

In addition to these stresses, Kit (Duncan’s long-lost son) is also still dealing with the fallout of having found his mother dead, while Gemma is still feeling the echoes of an earlier miscarriage. In the meantime, Duncan’s sister Juliet has been accused of cheating on her husband by (and with) his business partner Piers. Her response is that the partner is cheating her husband in a different way by skimming the company accounts. Her husband believes Piers and is putting the children in the middle of what is promising to be an ugly divorce, and one of those children, Lally, is acting out from the stress.

Then Juliet finds the mummified body of a baby mortared into the wall of the barn she’s renovating. Denounced by Piers and her husband of becoming unduly hysterical, Juliet turns to Duncan to take her side and help the local police investigate.

This was my first Jones/Kincaid mystery, and it didn’t really impress me much into wanting to catch up with the rest of the series. The many stories are told from multiple points of view, which I found slowed the whole narrative down because each shift was accompanied with long passages of exposition, many going back over information we already knew.

There is so much going on emotionally that the mystery parts are barely footnotes to the convoluted family dynamics, and the original mystery – that of the baby – is mostly ignored in favor of a different case anyway. Yet in neither case do Jones or Kincaid sees particularly interested in doing any investigation, and Jones in particular takes more time insisting to everyone that she’s a qualified police officer than actually acting like one.

WATER LIKE A STONE is only for people who are already interested in this series and who want a family dynamic story with a thin seasoning of mystery.

Reviewed by Linnea Dodson, April 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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