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Robin F. (Tucson, AZ)
No Mark Upon Her
This mystery takes place in England and centers around the world of sculling, how competitive it is and how physically fit the athletes must be. There is, of course, a murder and both Gemma and Duncan who are protagonists of Crombie, become an important part of the investigation. I found the book enjoyable. It held my interest and revisited Gemma and Duncan's history together which I appreciated since I must confess this is a first time I've read a book by Deborah Crombie. I am looking forward to discovering her many books and would highly recommend this book to everyone.
Carrol Ann S. (Ventura, CA)
No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie
What a great story...I was hooked by the end of page one. Anyone who enjoys mystery and intrigue will love this book. The author is so adept at describing characters and locales that you are instantly transported to the English countryside village and the Thames River.
Robert F. (Charleston, IL)
A solid mystery/thriller
I was unfamiliar with this author, but am now eager to enjoy more of her delicious stories.
At first I was bothered by moving back and forth among the various parts of the narrative, a device that seems to be more and more prevalent among mystery writers. But Crombie is a mature, experienced author, fully in command of the plot; she who knows just how far to stretch the suspense before getting on with the main goal of solving the crime. The characters are varied and engaging, and the story's twists and layers will keep you reading. It all comes together in an unusually satisfying, completely credible way.
Jane D. (Boulder, CO)
A good English country mystery
I especially liked learning about the sport of rowing and about how search and rescue dogs and their handlers work. The characters were somewhat flat, but the story was an entertaining one that kept me guessing.
Anne M. (Austin, TX)
I really enjoyed this mystery; I'd read a couple of Crombie's earlier books in the series but didn't remember much about them, and this was a good way to catch up a bit. (I do want to go back and read the entire series now, however!)
Dorothy M. (Owatonna, MN)
No Mark Upon Her
A woman rower is found dead in the river, and of course there are plenty of suspects; but the plot also comprises a bit of the back-story of the detective assigned to the case and that of his family. I actually found that part of the book more interesting than the main mystery -- I am not in the least interested in any sport, and rowing may be at or near the bottom of that list for me -- but the solution of the mystery, and the steps leading to it, was believable and kept my attention.
Crombie 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!
This novel has several qualities that I enjoy. First, I like to learn something new either about the place or the people. For a reader who had little knowledge about competitive running, Crombie demonstrated how important it is to those who participate in the sport. So important that murder happens.
Nona F. (Evanston, IL)
Strong entry in the series
Also I like strong characterization and detailed plot including subplots and this novel provides both of these.
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 made 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.
I am already eager for the next book in the series.
I have read most of the dozen-plus books in Deborah Crombie’s series featuring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James and never been disappointed. Her latest installment No Mark Upon Her is a strong entry in the series, presenting a murder with intriguing complications and continuing to move Duncan’s and Gemma’s ever-evolving relationship forward. Along the way, the reader is given some insights about the culture of rowing (is it fanciful to imagine a Scotland Yard detective winning an Olympic medal in rowing? Well, one did win the Leeds piano competition) as well as into the famous annual Oxford-Cambridge boat race. 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 her characters. Finally, I like Crombie because there is an over-riding sense of rightness and goodness in her books despite the presence of real evil, of moral ambiguity, and of compromise.
Kathleen D. (New Hampshire)
a student's choice---to row---defines a life
Deborah Crombie's 14th book in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series is an absorbing, intelligent mystery that can stand alone. However, I particularly like the evolving characters Crombie has created in this chain of stories and really look forward to each novel. The author is very skillful at placing an engrossing crime in the middle of the characters' everyday lives. It reminds the reader that some detectives actually do have lives outside of their respective jobs.
In this specific entry, we consider women who are top ranking members of the British police force and how they cope with the pressures of sexism & police hierarchy as well as deal with their private lives.
The story opens with the haunting vision of a world class rower, poised in her single scull at dusk on the Thames River. The slim figure on a narrow strip of carbon fiber, virtually flying with the current down the river, seems almost ethereal. Then, in an instant, she hears a splash, someone call her name . . . and she is gone.
The rower, now a murder victim, was an Oxford graduate and a DCI of the London Metropolitan Police. And, for some questionable reason, Duncan's Chief Superintendent at Scotland Yard wants him to take charge of this case in Henley-on-Thames.
Crombie has peppered the story with several captivating suspects with story lines that intertwine throughout the book (NOT the convenient villain suddenly appearing in the last thirty pages!). She also introduces an obscure, but integral, element that piques curiosity---the rarefied world of elite rowers. Crombie's charm is attention to details which results in a story with a rich texture, intriguing characterizations, and diverse possibilities for a satisfying conclusion. Excellent!