Water Like a Stone by Deborah Crombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book has really fueled my desire to travel England's canals on a narrow boat. We saw some of these the first time we were in England, and they fascinated me then!
Duncan Kincaid has brought Gemma James and their sons home to visit his parents and sister Juliet for Christmas. Gemma is nervous about spending so much time with Duncan's parents, while Kit and Duncan are at odds with each other over school performance. Kit is also having nightmares about his mother's murder, but refuses to let anyone know. In addition, Juliet's marriage is on the rocks and her daughter Lally is keeping secrets. Juliet discovers a mummified infant's body inside the wall of a dairy she is renovating. Kit is intrigued with Annie Lebow, a canal boat owner he meets, but when he finds her body next to the towpath, it brings back all the horror he's been trying to forget. This was a tightly plotted mystery, with several stories woven in. Crombie's characterizations are realistic, and sympathetic, and her gift for creating setting is also apparent. This was a top-notch read!
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My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ian Rutledge has returned from the World War I battlefields of France to take up his post at Scotland Yard investigating murders. He wonders whether he can slip back into his job with his sleuthing skills intact, or whether he's gotten stale. But even more worrisome, is that he is suffering from shell-shock, or what is known today as Post-Traumatic Shock Syndrome, which he has kept secret from his employer. However, unbeknown to him, his supervisor has discovered his secret, and he seeks to bring Rutledge down. So Rutledge is assigned to investigate a murder which may have been committed by a popular war hero who has friends at the highest level of the government. It's a tough case, and one that Rutledge seems destined to bungle. One of the potential witnesses is a shell-shocked, alcoholic veteran, and the other is a rabble-rouser.
This was a well-plotted mystery, dark in tone, and rich in atmosphere. Rutledge hears voices, or rather a voice, which speaks his deepest conflicted thoughts. The voice is that of Hamish, a soldier who Rutledge condemned to a firing squad for cowardice. Through Hamish, the author develops Rutledge as an extremely intelligent man, broken by the horror of war, but who is struggling to heal.
I am interested to see how this series develops. This is the first book in a long series, and while, I found this book to be quite dark and despairing, I will read a few more in the series.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jerusalem Inn is the fifth book in the Richard Jury series. It's Christmas, and Jury is visiting a cousin near Newcastle. He meets Helen Minton and they are attracted to each other. Then Helen is found murdered, and Jury wheedles his way into the investigation. Meanwhile Melrose Plant is attending a house party nearby, and Aunt Agatha has invited herself along. The house party is snowed in, and of course, another murder occurs. Once again, Martha Grimes creates a mystery with an interesting twist, but more importantly, also entertains me with her characters. Plant watches with amusement as Jury and Vivian Rivington joust with each other, and Aunt Agatha continues to shamelessly attempt to appropriate status. Plus, Grimes creates fascinating interactions between Jury and various children -"Tree" at the orphanage, and Chrissie at the inn. Another good entry in the series.