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by Deborah Crombie
William Morrow, February 2013
368 pages
ISBN: 0061990639

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

"Kill all the lawyers," one of Shakespeare's characters said, and someone seems to have taken the advice in Crombie's THE SOUND OF BROKEN GLASS. Detective Inspector Gemma James and her sergeant, Melody Talbot, are investigating the death of one barrister, who has been found tied up, trussed and strangled in a seedy hotel room. A few days later, another barrister is found dead, killed in the same manner.

The only commonality, aside from the method of death, is that Andy Monahan, a guitarist (and love interest for Melody) knew both men. He had been in an altercation with the first man the night of his death. The second barrister had bullied Andy when they were children.

Crombie's series (this is the 15th) is as much about the relationships as it is about the mystery. In this one, Gemma's husband, Duncan Kincaid, is on family leave as their 3-year-old foster daughter adjusts to life with the couple and their two sons. This gives Duncan, a detective superintendent, and his number two, Doug Cullen, time unofficially to help Gemma in her investigation. While previous books have focused mostly on Duncan and Gemma, this one widens the focus to Melody and Doug, which makes for a deeper, richer book. Characters from previous books also make cameo appearances in this one.

The book bounces back in time to when Andy was thirteen years old, growing up in the neighborhood of Crystal Palace, named for the iron and glass building erected for the Great Exhibition and moved to South London park in 1854. Each chapter begins with a description of either the building or neighborhood. Andy, growing up with an alcoholic mother, is befriended by a neighbor, Nadine. But when her world is turned upside down, she disappears from Andy's life.

This is a strong entry in the Kincaid-James series, with a well-plotted and interesting murder mystery. Duncan and Gemma's life seems to have settled somewhat, but Melody and Doug have some interesting developments in theirs. If you are new to the series, start in the beginning. But Crombie fans will be pleased with this entry, which references past novels and offers up at least one surprising twist for those who have been following the series.

Lourdes Venard is a newspaper editor in Long Island, N.Y.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, January 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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