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All Shall Be Well (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Series #2)

All Shall Be Well (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Series #2)

3.6 20
by Deborah Crombie

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Perhaps it is a blessing when Jasmine Dent dies in her sleep. At long last an end has come to the suffering of a body horribly ravaged by disease. It may well have been suicide; she had certainly expressed her willingness to speed the inevitable. But small inconsistencies lead her neighbor, Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard, to a startling conclusion:


Perhaps it is a blessing when Jasmine Dent dies in her sleep. At long last an end has come to the suffering of a body horribly ravaged by disease. It may well have been suicide; she had certainly expressed her willingness to speed the inevitable. But small inconsistencies lead her neighbor, Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard, to a startling conclusion: Jasmine Dent was murdered. But if not for mercy, why would someone destroy a life already so fragile and doomed? As Kincaid and his capable and appealing assistant Sergeant Gemma James sift through the dead woman's strange history, a troubling puzzle begins to take shape -- a bizarre amalgam of good and evil, of charity and crime . . . and of the blinding passions that can drive the human animal to perform cruel and inhuman acts.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Written with compassion, clarity, wit and precision, this graceful mystery amply fulfills the promise of Crombie's debut novel, A Share in Death. ``Morphine coats the mind like peach fuzz,'' thinks Jasmine Dent, a 50-year-old spinster born in India who is dying in London of lung cancer. Her death resembles suicide but leaves her friend and neighbor from the flat above, Scotland Yard Supt. Duncan Kincaid, uneasy. The postmortem he orders reveals an overdose of morphine, prompting him and his sergeant, hot-tempered, copper-haired Gemma James, on a thorough investigation. Suspects include 30-ish, disheveled Meg Bellamy, a timid friend with whom Jasmine had considered suicide, and the downstairs neighbor known as the Major, a veteran of the Muslim-Hindu clashes in Calcutta in 1946 and an avid gardener with whom Jasmine had often sat ``like two old dogs in the sun.'' Others include Meg's stunningly handsome, bullying beau Roger, who urged that she help Jasmine end her life; Felicity Howarth, Jasmine's faithful home-care nurse who slaves to keep her brain-damaged son in an institution; and Jasmine's weak-willed brother Theo, owner of a village junk shop who has failed at every venture he's tried. Helped by Jasmine's journal and a visit to a mental hospital, the clues finally click into place to reveal the culprit. Meg makes a decision that promises hope for two people, while Gemma and Duncan, both unlucky in love, move closer to each other. (Mar.)
Library Journal
This American author follows the successful debut of A Share in Death ( LJ 1/93) with another Scotland Yard procedural featuring Supt. Duncan Kincaid and Sgt. Gemma James. When the autopsy of Duncan's terminally ill neighbor indicates a drug overdose, Kincaid must determine whether the death was murder or suicide.
Stuart Miller
Crombie's second installment in the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series respects all the conventions of the police procedural subgenre but still manages to seem fresh and lively. Scotland Yard Superintendent Kincaid's terminally ill neighbor Jasmine Dent has died, possibly a suicide, but Kincaid senses something amiss. With Sergeant James' expert help, Duncan goes on a search for anyone with a possible motive for murder. They consistently draw blanks until Jasmine's journals provide some insight into her past and ultimately unlock the key to the mystery. All in all, this is an extremely satisfying procedural with good plotting and excellent characterizations. And while Duncan and Gemma's relationship may already be something other than strictly professional, Crombie is too savvy to let it progress all "that" much more, undoubtedly holding back for what we hope will be many more sequels.

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Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Series , #2
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All Shall Be Well

By Deborah Crombie

Berkley Publishing Group

Copyright © 1995 Deborah Crombie
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0425147711

Chapter One

Jasmine Dent let her head fall back against the pillows and closed her eyes. Morphine coats the mind like fuzz on a peach, she thought sleepily, and smiled a little at her metaphor. For a while she floated between sleeping and waking, aware of faint sounds drifting in through the open window, aware of the sunlight flowing across the foot of her bed, but unable to rouse herself.

Her earliest memories were of heat and dust, and the unseasonable warmth of the April afternoon conjured up smells and sounds that danced in her mind like long-forgotten wraiths. Jasmine wondered if the long, slow hours of her childhood lay buried somewhere in the cells of her brain, waiting to explode upon her consciousness with that particular lucidity attributed to the memories of the dying.

She was born in India, in Mayapore, a child of the dissolution of the Raj. Her father, a minor civil servant, had sat out the war in an obscure office. In 1947, he had chosen to stay on in India, scraping a living from his ICS pension.

Of her mother she had little recollection. Five years after Jasmine's birth, she had borne Theo and passed away, making as little fuss in dying as she had in living. She left behind only a faint scent of English roses that mingled in Jasmine's mind with the click of closing shutters and the sound of insects singing.

A soft thump on the bed jerked Jasmine's mind back to consciousness. She lifted her hand and buried her fingers in Sidhi's plush coat, opening her eyes to gaze at her fingers, the knobby joints held together by fragile bridges of skin and muscle. The cat's body, a black splash against the red-orange of the coverlet, vibrated against her hip.

After a few moments Jasmine gave the cat's sleek head one last stroke and maneuvered herself into a sitting position on the edge of the bed, her fingers automatically checking the catheter in her chest. Installing a hospital bed in the sitting room had eliminated the claustrophobia she'd felt as she became confined for longer periods to the small bedroom. Surrounded by her things, with the large windows open to the garden and the afternoon sun, the shrinking of her world seemed more bearable.

Tea first, then whatever she could manage of the dinner Meg left, and afterwards she could settle down for the evening with the telly. Plan in small increments, giving equal weight to each event -- that was the technique she had adopted for getting through the day.

She levered herself up from the bed and shuffled toward the kitchen, wrapping about her the brilliant colors of an Indian silk caftan. No drab British flannels for her -- only now the folds of the caftan hung on her like washing hung out on a line. Some accident of genetics had endowed her with an appearance more exotic than her English parentage warranted -- the dark hair and eyes and delicate frame had made her an object of derision with the English schoolgirls remaining in Calcutta -- but now, with the dark hair cropped short and the eyes enormous in her thin face, she looked elfin, and in spite of her illness, younger than her years.

She put the kettle on to boil and leaned against the kitchen windowsill, pushing the casement out and peering into the garden below.

She was not disappointed. The Major, clippers in hand, patrolled the postage-stamp garden in his uniform of baggy, gray cardigan and flannels, ready to pluck out any insubordinate sprig. He looked up and raised his clippers in salute. Jasmine mimed "Cup of tea?" When he nodded acceptance she returned to the hob and moved carefully through the ritual of making tea.

Jasmine carried the mugs out to the steps that led from her flat down to the garden. The Major had the basement flat and he considered the garden his territory. She and Duncan, in the flat above hers, were only privileged spectators. The planks of the top step grated against her bones as she eased into a sitting position.

The Major climbed the steps and sat beside her, accepting his cup with a grunt. "Lovely day," he said by way of thanks. "Like to think it would last." He sipped his tea, making a small swishing sound through his mustache. "You been keeping all right today?" He glanced at her for a second only, his attention drawn back to the rioting daffodils and tulips.

"Yes," Jasmine answered, smiling, for the Major was a man of few words under the best of circumstances. Those brief comments were his equivalent of a monologue, and his usual query was the only reference he ever made to her illness. They drank in silence, the tea warming them as much as the late afternoon sun soaking into their skins, until Jasmine spoke. "I don't think I've ever seen the garden look as lovely as it has this spring, Major. Is it just that I appreciate things more these days, or is it really more beautiful this year?"

"Hummff," he muttered into his cup, then cleared his throat for the difficult business of replying. "Could be. Weather's been bonny enough." He frowned and ran his fingers over the tips of his clippers, checking for rust. "Tulips're almost gone, though." The tulips wouldn't be allowed to linger past their prime. At the first fallen petal the Major would sever heads from stalks with a quick, merciful slash.

Jasmine's mouth twitched at the thought -- too bad there was no one to perform such a service for her. She herself had failed in the final determination, whether from cowardice or courage, she couldn't say. And Meg ... Continues...


Excerpted from All Shall Be Well by Deborah Crombie Copyright © 1995 by Deborah Crombie. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Deborah Crombie is a New York Times bestselling author and a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She now lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.

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All Shall Be Well (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Series #2) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't understand some of the bad reviews.....not all mysteries have to be cloak and dagger. They just have to keep the reader entertained and I did enjoy this book....sure there were quite a few sad stories, but that's in life as well. Deborah has become a favorite author just from having read two of her books. I think I enjoyed this one more then the first and it's because even though the stories were somewhat depressing I got to feel a depth of feeling for characters that wasn't there in the first book. I am a HUGE of Elizabeth George and wanted to find a similar writer and I think I've done that with Crombie. I'm looking forward to reading all her Kincaid/James novels.
Bxr4me More than 1 year ago
I had never read anything by this author before and was pleasantly surprised. A very enjoyable read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jasmine Dent has terminal lung cancer, so her neighbor Duncan Kincaid is not surprised to find her dead body in her apartment one morning. But several small details make Duncan uneasy, and as a Scotland Yard Superintendent he¿s in the position to do something about it. With the help of Sergeant Gemma James, he launches an investigation to find out whether Jasmine¿s death was suicide or something more sinister. Suspects are plentiful: a shy friend Meg who helped Jasmine prepare suicide plans, Meg¿s shiftless boyfriend Roger, Felicity the home-care nurse, Jasmine¿s unsuccessful brother Theo, her reticent downstairs neighbor Major Keith, and of course Jasmine herself. Duncan and Gemma methodically dig into the questions of motive and opportunity. As the investigation progresses, Duncan reads through Jasmine¿s journals in hopes of gaining insight from her past. It was nice to watch Duncan and Gemma move from a strictly profession relationship to something more personal. However, I found it slightly bleak that not a single character in the book was in a solid relationship. I did like getting to know the victim through her journal entries. The plot is sound and the uncertainty about whether or not a murder was actually committed made for an interesting twist. Altogether, All Shall Be Well is an quietly entertaining procedural and a quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This second book in Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series is closer to Duncan's home. A great murder mystery. I really enjoyed it and I love this series.
escapeartistDD More than 1 year ago
This author does not fill her book with a lot of non-essential words, places or things. She uses the English language well. Short stories or full length, the plot moves along and space is not wasted on things like one or two page descriptions of a room or a building that have little or nothing to do with the plot. I have read two of her books and am almost finished with a third. Highly recommended reading.
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Billyt1 More than 1 year ago
Good second volume of the series. Duncan and gemma are not yet a coule
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry to say that this book is really depressing and boring. I personally read mysteries for amusement not to get all teary about sad stuff. Almost every character in this book has some terrible events in their past. When I read the book cover¿s short description about a cancer patient dying I was already quite hesitant. But I naturally assumed that the author would not emphasize the terrible details of cancer and focus instead on a good mystery. Boy, was I wrong!!! There is absolutely no suspense whatsoever. Not that you know immediately what happened but you simply don¿t care that much since it is a relief for the main character to die anyway. Add to that a mixture of slightly sad and down-right tear jerking stories of the other characters and you¿ve got one depressing book. I¿m not even sure I want to finish it¿