I was about to start rereading all 13 Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novels in preparation for the 14th, "No Mark Upon Her". Alas, I got this one from the UK before I could get "restarted". I could not ignore it, and I dug unto it with gusto. I finished it in two days - all 468 pages (plus the two for acknowledgments).
The plot is topnotch, not predictable at all, and it starts getting faster an faster so that we cannot stop reading. It makes us feel as if we are in one of those shells, gliding along the Thames, and the current keeps taking us downstream forcefully.
The backdrop is the river, its bridges, its people. The core is really Duncan, Gemma, and Charlotte. Kit and Toby are their usual lovely selves. But then there's Charlotte, and she is special. She draws everyone to her and her favorite character, Alice (in Wonderland).
Surrounding a wedding, a birthday, Halloween, are real people, not puppets. We recall the ones from way back, but the "newcomers" are all very original and we remember them clearly.
And we also learn about the top guys in the Yard, and how they go to great lengths to protect each other, much to Kincaid's anger - but there is nothing he can do about it. At least, he was able to solve the mystery, even though he feels he has not done his best. He is left with some reconciliation, a two month leave, and he will now be in charge of the household.
Will Gemma be as successful as Duncan in the next novel? I, for one, am eagerly awaiting it. And now, I will go back and reread all 14 Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novels!