Garden of Lamentations (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James #16) by Deborah Crombie (HarperCollins hardcover, 7 February 2017).
It's been a while since I was so enthralled by a book that I just had to share it. It's not very surprising that it's part of one of my favorite series of all time: Deborah Crombie's Duncan Kincaid and Gemma Jones.
This installment opens with the body of a young woman, found posed under a tree. Cornwall Gardens is a private garden shared by the houses surrounding it (a handy map of the area is provided as a frontispiece).
The young woman, Reagan Keating was the nanny for a family who lived in one of those homes, and never made it home after a Friday night out with friends. Although the incident doesn't occur in Gemma's bailiwick, one of her close friends knew Reagan, and manages to have Gemma co-opted to assist with the investigation.
Meanwhile, Duncan receives a cryptic message from his old boss, Denis Childs, asking him to meet in a quiet pub. Duncan is still somewhat resentful towards Childs for suddenly transferring him without explanation the previous year. When Kincaid asks for one, he's told that Childs has taken an extended personal leave.
Duncan keeps the appointment, mostly in hopes of perhaps getting his long-delayed explanation. What he does learn is astounding: he was transferred in an attempt to distance him from Childs himself, who had uncovered some deep-reaching corruption in the department.
Duncan takes from this that he may still be in danger. This is confirmed the next day when he learns that Childs was attacked shortly after leaving the pub.
Gemma and Duncan's cases are both complex, but completely unrelated. The real story here is the effect of their work on their relationship. Duncan takes Childs' warnings to heart, and keeps the information about corruption to himself. Gemma knows that Duncan is hiding something, but they are both so busy with their respective jobs that communication is almost physically impossible.
Deborah Crombie has again created an excellent close-up of the life of a family with two working parents. Yes, their jobs are unusual, but the little dramas that happen to every member of such a family are universal. Only the details are different.
FTC Full Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my local library.