Deborah Crombie's 14th book in the Kincaid/James British crime series, No Mark Upon Her, is a favorite among BookBrowse readers; 22 out of 23 people rate it 4 or 5 stars! Here's what they have to say:
Oh, how I love thee, Deborah Crombie! Where have you been all my life and why haven't I read anything by you before? The author offers enough background story to give the reader a good feel for the characters and their situations while at the same time not introducing irrelevant information. No Mark Upon Her has it all: characters who get under your skin, an idyllic English setting, betrayal, ethical issues, family, suspense, and an itch to read more. Deborah Crombie has won me over with this novel and is sure to become one of my favorite mystery authors (Wendy R).
This is one of the best mysteries I've read in a long time. The writing is scintillating, the complex criminal investigation is mesmerizing - filled with surprising twists and palpable tension - and the three-dimensional characters are captivating. I loved the English setting, the sculling, which connected with the theme of power and control, and the K9 search-and-rescue team. The juxtaposition of the investigation with the family life of the Detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, married with children, made them more relatable (Amy M). Although you don't have to have read previous books in the series, it is fascinating to watch the evolution of Gemma and her family from the first book through now (Deborah C).
Some readers were intrigued by the topic of sculling:
Author Deborah Crombie has the ability to choose a quintessentially English theme - in this case, the prestigious sport of rowing - and then develop a complex mystery around it (Leslie D). Her research on sculling is impressive, with chapter notes for the reader's enlightenment (Therese X), and the story enabled me to learn something about a subject I knew virtually nothing about in a most entertaining way (Carolyn L). Her descriptions of rowing in the early evening are beautiful (Jenny P).
While many enjoyed Crombie's vivid depictions of England:
The author is so adept at describing characters and locales that you are instantly transported to the English countryside village and the Thames River (Carrol Ann S). She writes about English village/small-town life as if she were a native; I've visited some of the places she describes in this book and she was spot-on in her depictions. This novel is definitely a keeper (Anne M). Crombie painted such a wonderful picture that I wanted to hop on the next plane to England (Deborah C)!
And nearly all BookBrowse readers were taken with Crombie's incredible characters:
Though part of a series, I do not feel that I needed to have read the previous books to appreciate the characters. I like the idea of a husband-and-wife team and feel that Crombie develops the characters and the plot well. I highly recommend the book (Dorian B). Once I started, I could barely put it down. One sees Kincaid and James continue to evolve as they accept new challenges with the addition of a 3-year-old adoptee to their blended family (Kathleen S).
This book held my interest from start to finish. I have read all the previous books in this series and, as always, the character and plot development were riveting. Crombie balances the personal lives of the police officers very well with the demands of their jobs (Jenny P). Even the canine characters in this novel are finely drawn (Patricia S)! While the plot develops, we learn about some interesting officers who work in the Met and in Scotland Yard. Just as in real life, some we enjoy knowing and some we do not. A subplot that involves the search teams and their dogs make for unusual characters. The characters have grown as the series has developed. Learning about the new Kincaid/James family and their children was one of my favorite parts (Dorothy M).
We consider women who are top ranking members of the British police force and how they cope with the pressures of sexism and police hierarchy as well as deal with their private lives (Kathleen D). One of Crombie's strengths has always been presenting well-developed characters; she also takes the time to add dimensions to secondary characters who reappear in the series, and she gives us a sense of the ethnic diversity among them. I like Crombie because there is an over-riding sense of rightness and goodness in her books despite the presence of real evil, moral ambiguity, and compromise (Nona F).
Who should read this book?
I thought I had the plot figured out two thirds of the way through, but the twist in the story kept me guessing until the end. If you are a lover of police procedurals, do not miss this one (Jenny P). This is a good story of a couple's personal and professional lives and how they maintain respect for each other while under the stress of investigating a homicide. The outcome is unexpected. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to mystery enthusiasts (Jim S). This book is for anyone who enjoys a riveting police investigation, intriguing, memorable characters, and learning about British culture and society (Amy M).
This review was originally published in February 2012, and has been updated for the February 2013 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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