Kissed a Sad Goodbye by Deborah Crombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Deborah Crombie is one of my favorite mystery writers. Usually when I find an author I like (Donna Leon, say, or Charles Todd) I read the books very slowly, waiting six months or longer between them. I just don’t have the self-discipline to do that with Deborah Crombie’s Gemma James and Duncan Kinkaid series. I’m gobbling them up at a rate of one a week.
Kissed a Sad Goodbye was as usual very well plotted. The characters, including of course James and Kinkaid, are complex. And the setting is terrific: the east end of London, Docklands, Canary Wharf, Greenwich (across the river by tunnel). The murdered woman was the head of an old family tea-importing company, which I found no end interesting. And the book employed flashbacks, a device I particularly like.
We follow a young boy as he is evacuated from his loving home in the Isle of Dogs to an upper-middle-class household in the country where he is given an opportunity to get an education he would never have had in London. Flash! We are in 1999 London interviewing the officers of the tea company who are very worried what will become of them without the hard-charging CEO who has been found dead in Mudchute Park.
Back to World War II and the friendship that develops between the evacuee and the young people who live in the country house. Flash! Back to London and Gemma’s interview with a most unlikely busker. And on it goes. I love it. I put it down and immediately picked up the next book in the series.
2011 No 94 Coming soon: A Finer End