Cover image of "Now May You Weep," a novel by one of the leading English mystery writers

Go figure: one of my favorite English mystery writers is  . . . a Texan? Yes, it’s true. The biographical blurb in the back of Deborah Crombie‘s English mystery novels insist that she was born and lives in Texas. As an American myself, I can’t claim to be the final authority on the Englishness of Crombie’s narrative prose and dialogue. But I’ve spent enough time in the UK and with British friends not to be too easily fooled, and I’ll be damned if I can find any cultural or linguistic flaws in her writing. I appear to be in good company, too. Deborah Crombie has twice won the top award from the British mystery writers’ association.

The ninth novel in a series

Now May You Weep is the ninth in a series of 19 novels Crombie has written since 1993 about the Scotland Yard duo of Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. The two are sleuths who live together with his son, her son, two personable dogs, and an indifferent cat in a fashionable London neighborhood.


Now May You Weep (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #9) by Deborah Crombie (2003) 474 pages ★★★★☆


A single malt whisky distillery in Scotland, like the one where much of the novel is set. Image: Whisky Magazine

Engrossing and difficult to set aside

Like every other novel in its series, I found Now May You Weep to be engrossing and difficult to set aside. The scene is not England this time but Scotland, where Gemma James, recently promoted to Inspector and still recovering from a traumatic miscarriage, has gone for a long weekend for a cooking course at a rural bed-and-breakfast with her best bud, Hazel Cavendish. Hazel, long a rock of stability in Gemma’s topsy-turvy life, comes apart at the seams in the course of a weekend of shocking surprises and tragic events.

Crombie’s work is especially strong in painting a picture of the local scene—here, the Scottish highlands in all its stark, windswept glory. A major setting for the novel is an ancient distillery, which serves as the occasion for Crombie to explain in explicit and colorful detail how single-malt Scottish whiskey is made.

Now May You Weep is a stellar crime novel by a writer at the height of her powers. It’s an exceptionally fine read.

About the author

Photo of Deborah Crombie,

As Wikipedia notes, “Deborah Crombie (née Darden) is an American author of the Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James mystery series set in the United Kingdom. Crombie was raised in Richardson, Texas, and has lived in the United Kingdom. She now lives in McKinney, Texas. Crombie studied biology at Austin College” and writing at Tarrant County College. Ironically, she ranks among the top English mystery writers.

For additional reading

I’ve been reading Deborah Crombie’s novels for many years. The other books I’ve reviewed in the series recently include:

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For an abundance of great mystery stories, go to Top 20 suspenseful detective novels. And if you’re looking for exciting historical novels, check out Top 10 historical mysteries and thrillers reviewed here.

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