- Series: Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels (Book 13)
- 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 (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 152 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #544,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Necessary as Blood (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 6, 2009
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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.)
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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.
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If you skip this book, you'll be scratching your head in book 14.
Every book in this series is multi-layered with several plots running through each one and they overlap, interweave, and bounce off each other until somehow Crombie merges them into a whole with each plot playing a part in the others. This entry is no exception.
My only gripe about this book is when the main story started, it seemed as if it was taking place within days or weeks of the prolog. It wasn’t until several pages later that it became clear that the prolog occurred months earlier.
One of my comments on an earlier novel in the series suggested Crombie wrap up some ongoing story lines that I thought had stretched too long. Evidently, she heard me, for both are tied up in this entry.
I have the next two books in the series in my ‘to read’ pile and the urge to pick the next one up and dive into it is so strong, it’s almost overwhelming. That desire to read more is the sign of a good series.
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. From then on, they work together and separately to resolve the mystery and help create the best possible future for Charlotte, who, if they don't act, may end up living with her maternal grandmother despite the presence of two drug-dealing uncles and the fact that Sandra had no contact with her family.
The plot itself is complex but adeptly handled so that it never feels so; the characters are all plausible and the settings so vivid that I remain astonished that Crombie is an American and not a Londoner. There's nothing here to stretch the reader's credulity. Best of all, Crombie manages to blend the plot with the developments in Duncan's and Gemma's real lives (they are trying to find a way to marry that will keep everyone happy, as Gemma's mother must cope with a recurrence of her cancer -- disclosed very early on in the book, so not a spoiler!). There are no simple answers to either their personal challenges or to the mystery of what happened to Sandra or Naz, but Crombie ably walks the narrow line between giving away too many clues or emerging at the last moment with an improbable solution to the crime.
Highly recommended to anyone who likes character-driven mysteries. This isn't as elegantly written as P.D. James, or as complex as Elizabeth George's books, but anyone who relishes their characters should enjoy this series. It could be read as a stand-alone book, but there are frequent references throughout to events dealt with in previous episodes of the duo's personal and professional partnership, so I'd suggest starting your reading back with A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels), Crombie's debut, still in print more than 15 years later. Fans of the author will find this is one of the best of her recent books.
Gemma's mother instincts kick into high gear here as her now separated friends are connected to the victim and the victim's child. Meanwhile, her own mother is ill, increasing pressure on her to plan her wedding so her mother can attend. And it's the hottest part of the summer.
This book weaves the tension between home, relationships, and work into a story of drugs, immigration, race relations, and child-trafficking. Like all Crombie books, it's meticulously detailed and pulls the reader right into the setting.