No Mark Upon Her, by Deborah Crombie.
Beneath the surface, tendrils of dark hair moved like moss, and white fingers, slightly curled, drifted back and forth as if waving, signaling for help. - from No Mark Upon Her, page 45 -
Rebecca 'Becca' Meredith is a high-ranking detective with the Met in London. She is also an Olympic caliber rower who has decided to follow her dreams for a gold medal. So when her body is discovered in the Thames by two canine search and rescue teams, it is hard to imagine who would have wanted to do her harm. When one of the canine teams -- Kieran Connolly and his black lab, Finn -- come under attack, the mystery deepens. Duncan Kincaid is assigned the case and he immediately finds himself embroiled in much more than a murder investigation. Although Becca's ex-husband, Freddie, appears to be the most obvious suspect, the evidence begins to suggest that the real killer may be closer to the investigation than originally thought.
Deborah Crombie has crafted an intriguing and twisty suspense-thriller set in England. Filled with interesting characters, including canine handler Tavie and her German Shepherd, Tosh, as well as Kincaid's feisty wife, Gemma, the novel is well paced and offers a mystery which keeps the reader guessing until the end. Crombie lives in Texas, but she deftly weaves a believable story set firmly in London and its surrounding countryside.
Although it is the mystery of Becca's death which drives the narrative, Crombie complicates the story with underlying secrets and the prestigious world of rowing clubs and posh schools.
I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller, and not just because it involved search and rescue dogs and their handlers. Crombie writes well with a good command of her story and a knack for maintaining the mystery up until the last pages. The novel is absorbing and suspenseful -- the perfect book to read on a wintery day.
Readers should know that Crombie has written thirteen previous books in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series, although it is not necessary to have read the first books to appreciate this one which stood alone just fine for me. That said, I think I may need to go back and catch up on Crombie's earlier works.
No Mark Upon Her is highly recommended for readers who enjoy thrillers, mysteries, or anything with an English flavor.
- Quality of Writing: Four stars
- Characters: Four and a half stars
- Plot: Four and a half stars
Overall Rating: Four and a half stars.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review on my blog.
Catch all of Wendy Robard's reviews in her fabulous blog, "Caribousmom".