25 February 2013


The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie (William Morrow hardcover, 19 February 2013).

 The story begins fifteen years ago, as we meet a 13-year-old boy who lives in a rundown flat with his mother, who works in a local pub.  The boy, Andy, has to keep track of the money his mother earns so she doesn't fritter it away on drink and cigarettes.  He's a loner, until he meets the new next-door neighbor, a young woman who tells him her name is Nadine.

In the present-day, Detective Inspector Gemma  James is called early one Saturday morning to report to a homicide scene, at a hotel in an area of London called Crystal Palace.  A naked man has been found in a seedy hotel, bound and strangled.  Was it a kinky encounter gone wrong, or something more deliberate?
 The body turns out to be that of a well-respected barrister named Vincent Arnott.  As Gemma and her team begin to retrace his path of the previous evening, they discover that his evening had begun at a local pub, which he left after an altercation with one of the band members, though obviously not alone.

Meanwhile, Gemma's husband, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid is taking his turn staying at home with Charlotte, their three-year-old foster daughter.  Although he's trying hard to not interfere with his wife's case, he encounters a friend who knows the same young musician, and discovers that perhaps London isn't such a big city after all.

Deborah Crombie moves skilfully between the 1990s and today, weaving an intricate and compelling web of connections.  It's wonderful to experience the development of Gemma and Duncan's relationship, along with their family and careers.  They're like long-time friends whom we don't see often, but look forward to meeting again soon.

FTC Full Disclosure:  I received an e-galley of the book through Edelweiss.

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