A Finer End

By Deborah Crombie

5 copies

Amazon.com Review

Although P.D. James has made it to the top of American bestseller lists, she's not the only talented female writer of British mysteries who is popular here. Like James, Deborah Crombie is another exceptional stylist who uses every new book in a series as an opportunity to explore the emotional complexity of her central characters and further reveal the many dimensions of their personal and professional lives. Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his partner and lover, Sergeant Gemma James, are at a crossroads in their relationship. But far more compelling to both of them are their investigations in Glastonbury, the mythical burial place of King Arthur and Guinevere, where Kincaid's cousin Jack has discovered a thousand-year-old secret. Jack hasn't deciphered it yet--it's being transmitted to him by "automatic writing" in communiqués that seem to be coming (in church Latin, of course) from a monk who's been dead for centuries. Of course there's a murder involved--a couple of them, actually--but by the time Kincaid's involvement is officially sanctioned as an investigation rather than a favor for a relative, the reader has been drawn deeply into a much more ancient mystery. As usual, Crombie creates secondary characters who are as interesting and carefully developed as Kincaid and James: a middle-aged vicar whose life is nearly snuffed out just as she's fallen in love for the first time; a pregnant teenager with apparently psychic abilities that are somehow linked to the ruins of Glastonbury's old abbey; a mendacious historian who understands the true value of the mysterious "letters" from Brother Edmund; and especially the Company of Watchers, the spirits who guard Britain's spiritual heart, who are said to watch over King Arthur until he rises again. There's more than a smidgen of New Age-iness about this somewhat atypical Crombie thriller, but perhaps that will help widen her appeal and bring her the attention her brilliant but largely unknown books deserve. --Jane Adams

From Amazon Books 10/31/11

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