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Necessary as Blood (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 6, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061287539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061287534
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,254,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Romance dominates Crombie's 13th contemporary procedural featuring Scotland Yarders Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid, who are on the verge of getting married (after 2008's Where Memories Lie). The how, where and when of their wedding proves a considerable source of stress to both, overshadowing the murder investigation of Naz Malik, a solicitor suspected in the disappearance of his wife, Sandra Gilles, an artist specializing in textile collage. Malik was found suffocated in Bethnal Green, with traces of an animal tranquilizer in his system. Meanwhile, James's mother is seriously ill, placing James in the impossible position of trying to fulfill both her familial and work responsibilities. In addition, James must fight to keep Malik's now parentless young daughter from falling into the custody of Sandra's unsavory relatives. Hopefully, Crombie will provide a better balance of police work and her characters' personal lives next time. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

In this dazzling addition to Deborah Crombie's acclaimed mystery series, a disappearance, a murder, and a child in danger lead Scotland Yard detectives Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid into London's legendary East End—a neighborhood where the rich and the poor, the ambitious and the dangerous, collide—to solve one of the most challenging and disturbing cases they've ever faced. . . .

Necessary as Blood

Once the haunt of Jack the Ripper, London's East End is a vibrant mix of history and the avant-garde, a place where elegant Georgian town houses exist side by side with colorful street markets and the hippest clubs. But here races and cultures still clash, and the trendy galleries and glamorous nightlife of Whitechapel disguise a violent and seedy underside, where unthinkable crimes bring terror to the innocent.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in mid May, a young mother, Sandra Gilles, leaves her daughter with a friend at the Columbia Road Flower Market and disappears. Shortly thereafter, her husband, a Pakistani lawyer, is killed. Scotland Yard detective Gemma James happens upon the scene in time to witness the investigator making a mistake.

When Duncan and his trusted sergeant, Doug Cullen, see Gemma's name in the report, they decide to take the case. Working together again, Gemma, Duncan, Doug, and Melody Talbot must solve it before the murderer can get his hands on the real prize, Naz and Sandra's daughter.

But just as the case grows more dangerous, a personal issue threatens to throw Gemma and Duncan off the trail. In the end, it is up to them to stop a vicious killer and protect the child whose fate hangs in the balance.

More About the Author

Deborah Crombie grew up near Dallas, Texas, but from a child always had the inexplicable feeling that she belonged in England. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, she made her first trip to Britain and felt she'd come home. She later lived in both Chester, England, and Edinburgh, Scotland, where she failed to make as good a use of being cold and poor as JK Rowling.

It was not until almost a decade later that, living once more in Texas and raising her small daughter, she had the idea for her first novel, a mystery set in Yorkshire. She had no credentials other than a desire to write and a severe case of homesickness for Britain. A Share in Death, published in 1993, was short-listed for both Agatha and Macavity awards for Best First Novel and was awarded the Macavity.

Crombie's fifth novel, Dreaming of the Bones, was a New York Times Notable Book in 1997, was named by the Independent Mystery Booksellers as one of the 100 Best Crime Novels of the Century, was an Edgar nominee for Best Novel, and won the Macavity award for Best Novel.

Subsequent novels have been published to critical acclaim and in a dozen languages. Crombie's fourteenth novel featuring Metropolitan Police detectives Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Inspector Gemma James, No Mark Upon Her, will be published by Harper Collins in February 2012.

The author still lives in Texas but spends several months out of the year in Britain, maintaining a precarious balance between the two, and occasionally confusing her cultural references.

Customer Reviews

Interesting plots and likeable characters.
Laura V
She develops the plot very well and it's hard to put the book down once you start reading.
Barbara Degler
I am a huge fan of Deborah Crombie's and love her Duncan Kincaid/Gemma Jones novels.
Darlene Daly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Tom S. on October 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A young woman named Sandra Gilles leaves her child with a friend in London's colorful East End and promptly disappears. Then her husband, a Pakistani lawyer, is murdered. This is a particularly disturbing case for Insp. Gemma James of the Notting Hill C.D. and her partner, Supt. Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard. As they wade through a morass of evidence, conflicting stories, twisted motives, prejudice, and greed, they are ever more determined to protect the little girl at the center of the mystery.

This is the 13th entry in one of my all-time favorite British crime series. I read the first "Duncan-and-Gemma," A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels), when it was published in 1993, and every book since then has been a joy. Crombie gives us solid mystery stories along with the ever-growing (and ever more complicated) relationship between her two detectives and their children. NECESSARY AS BLOOD is British mystery at its best--by an author who happens to be American. If you love P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, Peter Robinson, Reginald Hill, Martha Grimes, and Elizabeth George, you'll love Deborah Crombie. Highly recommended.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Julia Walker VINE VOICE on October 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a year when "the new Laurie King" was a total cheat and "the new Margaret Maron" was barely there and "the new Sara Paretsky" was merely good, it's blissful to fall into the new Deborah Crombie. Crombie's characters - on-going and new - are vivid yet believable, while her ability to weave setting into plot just gets better and better.

Less dark than Ruth Rendell and more plot-driven than PD James, Crombie is that rare writer who can keep a series going without resorting to massive trauma in the lives of her main characters as a selling point. Crombie's Gemma James is now the primary character in the novel, and that's a very good thing. Although the series sometimes moves away from London, the metropolitan novels are my favorites. This time we get the Brick Lane Bangla-Angla community, the social services system, fabric art, and the whole question of what it means to be a Brit in the third millennium. Crombie makes excellent use of the epigraph, heading her chapters with quotes from an impressive East End bibliography. I always learn interesting stuff (a technical term there, sorry) when I read -- or reread -- one of her novels.

Only Donna Leon can rival Crombie at the art of making setting, plot, theme, and the personal lives of her main characters function as elegant parts of a perfect construction: the really good read.

I tried to read slow so it would last longer, but . . . .
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Julia Walker's review of this book is spot on and I totally endorse everything she has to say. I just want to add a couple of things.

1. Because the Crombie series, like Donna Leon's equally brilliant Brunetti series, is so character driven, I strongly recommend reading the books in chronological order. Then, by the time you get to this one, the 13th in the series, your involvement with Gemma, Duncan, their families, friends, colleagues and how their personal histories have evolved will be firmly in place, greatly adding to the many pleasures you'll find here. Here's the list, in order, updated December, 2014: "A Share in Death," "All Shall Be Well," "Leave the Grave Green," "Mourn Not Your Dead," "Dreaming of the Bones," "Kissed a Sad Goodbye," "A Finer End," "And Justice There Is None," "Now May You Weep," "In a Dark House," "Water Like a Stone," "Where Memories Lie," "Necessary as Blood," "No Mark Upon Her," "The Sound of Broken Glass," "To Dwell in Darkness."

2. This second comment is a bit off topic and relates to the atmospheric chapter header quotes that Walker mentions. Several are from Dennis Severs's book about his Spitalfields house at 18 Fogate Street. During my first trip to London in 1982 I spent an evening at one of Severs's otherworldly candlelight tours of his house and it remains one of my most memorable travel experiences; "Necessary as Blood" brought it all back for me. Any fans of this book enchanted with Crombie's portraits of today's East End and thinking of including it on an upcoming London visit should check out dennissevershouse online. Severs is no longer with us, but his house and its magical time capsule tours continue on Monday evenings, advance bookings required. For present day atmosphere, I recommend the marvelous 2007 indie movie "Brick Lane."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's hard for a mystery novelist to sustain a long-running series with the same set of detectives. In some cases, I end up wondering just how many bodies some communities generate over the year; in other cases, the author himself or herself seems to be wearying of their task, and end up delivering predictable and ho-hum books. A few successfully develop new characters (Natasha Cooper has already done this once, the writing team of Charles Todd seems to be trying to do the same.)

Then there's Deborah Crombie, whose 13th offering in the series of police procedurals featuring Duncan Kincaid and his fiancee and fellow police officer Gemma James is one of her best yet. There are no fictional pyrotechnics, homicidal lunatics, no piling up of corpses at every turn -- there isn't even really a vast global conspiracy theory. There are just a collection of fallible and sometimes malicious or callous individuals, whose actions or inactions have consequences for all around them.

In this particular character-driven mystery, a young mother named Sandra Gilles simply vanishes one day, leaving her toddler daughter with a family friend for what she promises will just be an hour or two. Then, months later, her husband also disappears; Charlotte, the 3-year-old daughter, can say only that her Mummy went away and her Daddy went to look for her. Gemma and Duncan share mutual friends with Naz, Charlotte's father and a Pakistani-born lawyer, and are in on the case early, even before the first dead body shows up.
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