Go figure: one of my favorite English mystery writers is . . . a Texan? Yes, it’s true. The biographical blurbs 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. And I appear to be in good company, as Deborah Crombie has twice won the British mystery writers’ top award for her novels.
Now May You Weep is the ninth in a series of 13 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 @@@@ (4 out of 5)
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 an especially 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.
For additional reading
I’ve been reading Deborah Crombie’s novels for many years. The other books I’ve reviewed recently include:
- And Justice There Is None (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James #8), reviewed at A murder mystery unfolds against the backdrop of the antiques trade
- Garden of Lamentations (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James #17), reviewed at Uncovering corruption at Scotland Yard
- A Bitter Feast (Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid #18) by Deborah Crombie—Deborah Crombie shows her chops with a large cast of characters
You might also enjoy my posts:
- Top 10 mystery and thriller series;
- 20 excellent standalone mysteries and thrillers; and
- 20 outstanding detective series from around the world.
For an abundance of great mystery stories, go to Top 20 suspenseful detective novels (plus 200 more). And if you’re looking for exciting historical novels, check out Top 10 historical mysteries and thrillers reviewed here (plus 100 others).
And you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, plus a guide to this whole site, on the Home Page.