Summary and book reviews of No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie

No Mark Upon Her

A Novel

by Deborah Crombie

No Mark Upon Her
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2012, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2013, 384 pages

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Book Summary

New York Times bestselling author Deborah Crombie makes her mark with this absorbing, finely hued tale of suspense - a deeply atmospheric and twisting mystery full of deadly secrets, salacious lies, and unexpected betrayals involving the mysterious drowning of a Met detective - an accomplished rower - on the Thames.

When a K9 search and rescue team finds a body tangled up with debris in the Thames, Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid finds himself heading an investigation that could end his career. The victim, Rebecca Meredith, was an Olympic rowing hopeful determined to make a comeback. She was also a detective with the Met - a situation that raises a host of political and ethical issues that complicate the case.

Aided by his wife, Inspector Gemma James, Duncan and his team discover that both Meredith's rowing colleagues and her ex-husband had reason to want her dead. But when someone tries to kill the search-and-rescue team member who found Rebecca's body, the case becomes even more complex and dangerous, involving powerful interests with tentacles that reach deep into the heart of the Met itself.

Surrounded by enemies in friendly faces, pressured to find answers quickly and protect the Yard from rabid media desperate for dirt, his career and reputation on the line, Kincaid must race to catch the killer before more innocent lives are lost - including his own.

CHAPTER ONE

The art of sculling is like any other art. It is perfected only with constant practice so that each movement is graceful and is done correctly without thinking about it.
- George Pocock

Notes on the Sculling Stroke as Performed by
Professional Scullers on the Thames River, England

A glance at the sky made her swear aloud. It was later than she'd thought, darker than she'd realized. Since the clocks had moved back, night seemed to fall like a bludgeon, and there was a heavy wall of cloud moving in from the west, presaging a storm.

Heart thumping, she moved across the cottage's shadowy garden and through the gate that led out onto the Thames Path. Tendrils of mist were beginning to rise from the water. The river had a particular smell in the evenings, damp and alive and somehow primeval. The gunmetal surface of the water looked placid as a pond, but she knew that for an illusion. The current, swift here as the river made its way towards the roar of the weir...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. One of the themes of No Mark upon Her is the notion of family - both the blood kind and the kind a person willingly creates on his own. How are these ideas of family manifested? Do you see one as being more important than the other? Can a person belong to two kinds of family at the same time?

  2. Should Gemma have given more weight to her blood family's opinions, both in her marriage and in agreeing to foster Charlotte?

  3. Talk about Gemma and Duncan. What are they like? How do their personalities work together? How have they changed over the series? Has getting married changed their relationship? How has being parents altered their lives and their outlook?

  4. Do you feel they made the right decision in bringing a mixed-race child into a ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Deborah Crombie's fourteenth 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:

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).   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

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Media Reviews

New York Journal of Books

[R]eaders who savor excellent writing will find that Ms. Crombie delivers it again.

Kirkus Reviews

To the customary pleasures of the Kincaid/James ménage (Necessary as Blood, 2009, etc.), Crombie adds the interest generated by the history of the Henley Regatta pitting Oxford against Cambridge and the relationship between canine search-and-rescue handlers and their animals.

Library Journal

Three-time Macavity Award winner Crombie is a librarian favorite, and the 100,000-copy first printing speaks volumes.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Crombie gives an insightful look into British police procedures as well as a vivid view of the vagaries of London neighborhoods.

Reader Reviews

Wendy R. (Riverside, CA)

New Favorite Author!
I have read a number of enjoyable mysteries of late, but this one . . . Oh, how I love thee, Deborah Crombie! Where have you been all my life and why haven't I read anything by you before? No Mark Upon Her is the 14th book in the series, I believe,...   Read More

Amy M. (Brooklyn, NY)

Unpleasant Consequences
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 ...   Read More

Joe S. (Port Orange, FL)

No Mark upon Her
This was the first of this series I had read and it certainly will not be the last. The complex plot, the description of the settings and the well thought out characters make this one of the better mysteries that I have read. The explanation of the ...   Read More

Marion T. (Palatine, IL)

No Mark Upon Her
This is the first of the a series of 14 books by Deborah Crombie that I have read. Let it be said that if I had read all 14 the characters would have had a lot more history, but the author has written this one that could stand alone. There are ...   Read More

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The Kincaid/James Series

Newcomers to Deborah Crombie's mystery series agree that it is not necessary to have read the previous books to appreciate No Mark Upon Her, but for those who like to read in series order, or who at least would like to know what came before, here's a quick overview:

Deborah CrombieThe Author
Born and raised in and around Dallas, Texas, Deborah Crombie (b. 1952) fell in love with Britain during a post-university trip. Later, having married her first husband, Scotsman Peter Crombie, she spent some years living in Scotland and England before returning to Dallas. She wrote the first Kincaid/James novel in 1993 while working in the family business and raising her daughter. She still lives in Texas with her husband Rick Wilson and travels to England ...

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