And Justice There Is None (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Series #8)

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Overview

Award-winning author Deborah Crombie has elevated the modern mystery novel to new heights of human drama and multilayered suspense with her critically acclaimed tales of intrigue featuring Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James. In their latest outing, Kincaid and his former partner--and soon-to-be roommate--follow a twisting trail of rage and retribution whose buried roots are about to exact a deadly ...
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And Justice There Is None (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Series #8)

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Overview

Award-winning author Deborah Crombie has elevated the modern mystery novel to new heights of human drama and multilayered suspense with her critically acclaimed tales of intrigue featuring Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James. In their latest outing, Kincaid and his former partner--and soon-to-be roommate--follow a twisting trail of rage and retribution whose buried roots are about to exact a deadly toll on the living.

And Justice There is None

Gemma James is adjusting to professional and personal changes that include her eagerly sought promotion to the rank of inspector--and a future now intricately entwined with Duncan Kincaid. But her new responsibilities are put to the test when she is placed in charge of a particularly brutal homicide: The lovely young wife of a wealthy antiques dealer has been found murdered on fashionable Notting Hill.

Dawn Arrowood was six weeks pregnant. Her lover, Alex Dunn, a porcelain dealer in London’s bustling Portobello Market, appears absolutely devastated by her death, but Gemma’s the main focus of investigation is soon Karl Arrowood, who had the most powerful motive for killing his unfaithful wife. But this case sets off warning bells for Duncan: it’s far too similar to an unsolved murder in which an antiques dealer was killed in precisely the same way and when the escalating violence claims yet another victim, he and Gemma find themselves at increasing odds with each other--as two separate investigations become linked in the most startling of ways. Their hunt for a killer will traverse the teeming stalls of the city’s antiques markets to a decades-in-the-making vendetta of history and hatred that has been honed to a flawless, deadly point. To solve this case, Gemma and Duncan must walk a merciless razor’s edge through a place where true justice will be a long time coming.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Scotland Yard's Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and newly promoted Inspector Gemma James have just settled into a life together in London's Notting Hill when an antique dealer's wealthy wife dies nearby. Was the lovely young victim murdered by her jealous husband? Or this case somehow connected with an unsolved homicide that Duncan had investigated? This skillful novel bears comparison with the British police procedurals of P. D. James and Elizabeth George.
From the Publisher
Praise for the Acclaimed Novels of Deborah Crombie

A Finer End

“Crombie has laid claim to the literary territory of moody psychological suspense owned by P. D. James and Barbara Vine. Superbly creepy and melodramatic.”
--The Washington Post

“Intricately layered.”
--The New York Times

“Splendid entertainment.”
--Chicago Tribune

Kissed a Sad Goodbye

“Atmospheric...absorbing...haunting.”
--The Washington Post Book World

“[Crombie] is writing in P. D. James territory, and she is a master.”
--Associated Press

Dreaming of the Bones

“Fascinating...multilayered.”
--The New York Times Book Review

“Dreaming of the Bones will make you cry and catch your breath in surprise.”
--Chicago Tribune

A New York Times Notable Book

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly
There's more truth than humor in Crombie's eighth thriller set in contemporary London. When someone does in Dawn Arrowood, the young, pregnant wife of a wealthy antiques dealer, in her soign Notting Hill home, Inspector Gemma James is put in charge of the investigation. Gemma's lover, Det. Supt. Duncan Kincaid, believes the murder is the work of a serial killer, but Gemma suspects the victim's husband, Karl Arrowood. Despite their combined efforts, the slasher strikes again. Fearful of igniting a new Jack the Ripper-style panic, Duncan and Gemma soon find themselves at odds when their investigations become linked in startling, unexpected ways, culminating in an exciting denouement with serious undercurrents. Crombie keeps the action moving throughout, providing a cook's tour of London, from Tower Bridge to Portobello Market, as well as plenty of gruesome detail ("Kincaid felt the bile rise in the back of his throat as he squatted, using his pocket torch to illuminate Dawn Arrowood's motionless form"). There's some amusing sociological commentary interspersed throughout, plus the occasional frisson ("A jogger brushed past, startling him a tall, slender, hooded figure. Alex felt a shock of familiarity, but when he turned, the man had vanished"). The result is a competently plotted, reasonably engaging mystery that blazes no new pathways, but keeps the reader involved all the way to its predictably sanguinary conclusion. (Sept. 3) FYI: The author has been nominated for Edgar, Agatha and Macavity awards. The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association named Crombie's Dreaming of the Bones one of the 20th century's best mystery novels. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In Crombie's eighth masterly police procedural featuring Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Inspector Gemma James, the pair's relationship deepens. With the progression of Gemma's pregnancy (revealed in A Finer End), they consolidate households while working together to solve three murders. Dawn Arrowood, wife of prominent Notting Hill antiques dealer Karl, 25 years her senior, is newly pregnant and is having an affair when she is killed (her throat cut, her lung pierced) outside her home. It's no longer an isolated case when Kincaid finds similarities in the murder of antiques dealer Marianne Hoffman two months earlier, and police lose a prime suspect when Karl himself is found dead. The earlier history of a young woman, threaded through the narrative, becomes part of the intricate weave of the lives of the small cast of characters and the revelation of the damage done to so many by one man's ruthlessness. If the level of coincidence is high, it's easily forgiven owing to native Texan Crombie's skill in fashioning a supremely satisfying traditional British mystery, updated with Gemma the modern career woman juggling her life as well as her cases. Essential for mystery lovers, particularly for Anglophiles and fans of P.D. James. Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Just as newly promoted Inspector Gemma James's pregnancy is starting to show-and to remind her how little room her flat has for a new baby-her lover, Supt. Duncan Kincaid (A Finer End, 2001, etc.) happens onto a piece of incredible luck: a most reasonable five-year lease on a house in fashionable Notting Hill, with room enough for both of them, together with Kincaid's son Kit, Gemma's son Toby, and the imminent arrival. Their advent, however, is marked by tragedy when antiques dealer Karl Arrowood's much younger wife, Dawn, is found stabbed to death in her driveway. Dawn had also been in the early stages of pregnancy, a revelation that shocks both her lover, porcelain dealer Alex Dunn, and her husband, who insists that the child must have been his despite the vasectomy he got after his two grown sons, Richard and Sean, soured him on family life. Both those sons, resentful of the trophy wife who stands to inherit their father's considerable estate, have a powerful motive for killing Dawn, as do Karl himself and, it eventually seems, half the merchants on Portobello Road. But Gemma's arduous rounds of questioning provoke only anger or amusement among the suspects, and a second murder produces only more confusion. It'll take endless interrogations of several families' dim past histories, supplemented by repeated flashbacks, to disclose the truth. Anglophiles will cheer the sociological evocation of the changing London neighborhood, and there's plenty of justice, despite the title, though the detection is more dogged than inspired.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553579307
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/2003
  • Series: Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Series , #8
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 397
  • Sales rank: 190,561
  • Product dimensions: 6.88 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Crombie
Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novels have been nominated for the Agatha, Macavity, and Edgar Awards. Dreaming of the Bones, the fifth novel in the series, was named one of the century’s best mystery novels by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. She lives with her family in a small north Texas town, where she is at work on her next novel.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Admiral Sir Edward Vernon, with a small fleet of ships from the British Navy, captured the port [of Porto Bello] in 1739 . . . Bonfires were lit in all the major cities to celebrate the victory . . . streets and districts were named after Vernon and Portobello. Whetlor and Bartlett, from Portobello

He ran, as so many others ran, the black anorak protecting him from the mist, the reflective patches on his trainers gleaming as he passed under the street lamps. The pattern of the streets was etched in his mind, a living map. Down Portobello, under the motorway, past Oxford Gardens, once the site of Portobello Farm, then back up Ladbroke Grove, past the video shop and the Afro-Caribbean hairdressers, then into Lansdown Road with its whitewashed Victorian austerity. He imagined that the street’s curve paralleled the track of the old racecourse that had crowned Notting Hill a hundred and fifty years ago; that his feet fell where the horses hooves had struck.

Now, Christmas lights twinkled in front gardens, promising a cheerful comfort he could not share. Other joggers passed him. He acknowledged them with a nod, a raised hand, but he knew there was no real kinship. They thought of their heart rates, of their dinners and their shopping, of home and children and the demands of the holiday on their bank accounts.

He ran, as the others ran, but his mind revolved in a rat’s wheel of old things, dark things, sores that did not heal. Nor would they, he knew, unless he took the cleansing upon himself: There would be no justice unless he made it.

There, the spire of St. John’s Church, rising disembodied above the mist-wreathed rooftops. The blood roared in his veins as he neared his destination; his breath came hard with the terror of it. But he could not turn away. All his life he had been moving towards this place, this night; this was who and what he was.

A woman with long, dark hair passed by him, her face in shadow. His heart quickened as it always did; it might have been his mother as he saw her in his dreams. Sometimes in his visions her hair twined round him, silken and cool, an elusive comfort. Every night he had brushed it with a silver-backed brush, and she had told him stories. Until she had been taken from him.

He ran, as the others ran, but he carried with him something they did not. History, and hatred, honed to a bright and blazing point.

Portobello took on a different character once the shops closed for the day, Alex Dunn decided as he turned into the road from the mews where he had his small flat. He paused for a moment, debating whether to go up the road to the Calzone’s at Notting Hill Gate for a celebratory pizza, but it wasn’t the sort of place one really wanted to go on one’s own. Instead, he turned to the right, down the hill, passing the shop fronts barred for the night and the closed gates of the cafErun by St. Peter’s Church. Bits of refuse littered the street from the day’s traffic, giving it a desolate air.

But tomorrow it would be different; by daybreak the stallholders would be set up for Saturday market, and in the arcades, dealers would sell everything from antique silver to Beatles memorabilia. Alex loved the early-morning anticipation, the smell of coffee and cigarettes in the arcade cafes, the sense that this might be the day to make the sale of a lifetime. As he might, he thought with a surge of excitement, because today he’d made the buy of his lifetime.

His step quickened as he turned into Elgin Crescent and saw the familiar facade of Otto’s Café at least that was how the regulars referred to the place; the faded sign read merely Café. Otto did a bustling daytime business in coffee, sandwiches, and pastries, but in the evening he provided simple meals much favored by the neighborhood residents.

Once inside, Alex brushed the moisture from his jacket and took a seat in the back at his favorite table favored because he liked the nearness of the gas fire. Unfortunately, the cafés furniture had not been designed to suit anyone over five feet tall. Surprising, really, when you looked at Otto, a giant of a man. Did he never sit in his own chairs? Alex couldn’t recall ever seeing him do so; Otto always seemed to hover, as he did now, wiping his brow with the hem of his apron, his bald head gleaming even in the dim light.

“Sit down, Otto, please,” Alex said, testing his hypothesis. “Take a break.”

Otto glanced towards Wesley, his second-in-command, serving the customers who had just come in, then flipped one of the delicate curve-backed chairs round and straddled it with unexpected grace.

“Nasty out, is it?” The café owner’s wide brow furrowed as he took in Alex’s damp state. Even though Otto had lived all of his adult life in London, his voice still carried an inflection of his native Russia.

“Can’t quite make up its mind to pour. What sort of warming things have you on the menu tonight?”

“Beef and barley soup; that and the lamb chops should do the trick.”

“Sold. And I’ll have a bottle of your best Burgundy. No plonk for me tonight.”

“Alex, my friend! Are you celebrating something?”

“You should have seen it, Otto. I’d run down to Sussex to see my aunt when I happened across an estate sale in the village. There was nothing worth a second look in the house itself; then, on the tables filled with bits of rubbish in the garage, I saw it.” Savoring the memory, Alex closed his eyes. “A blue-and-white porcelain bowl, dirt-encrusted, filled with garden trowels and bulb planters. It wasn’t even tagged. The woman in charge sold it to me for five pounds.”

“Not rubbish, I take it?” Otto asked, an amused expression on his round face.

Alex looked round and lowered his voice. “Seventeenth-century delft, Otto. That’s English delft, with a small ‘I’d rather than Dutch.’ I’d put it at around 1650. And underneath the dirt, not a chip or a crack to be found. It’s a bloody miracle, I’m telling you.”

It was the moment Alex had lived for since his aunt had taken him with her to a jumble sale on his tenth birthday. Spying a funny dish that looked as if someone had taken a bite out of its edge, he had been so taken with it that he’d spent all his birthday money on its purchase. His aunt Jane had contributed a book on porcelain, from which he’d learned that his find was an English delft barber’s bowl, probably early eighteenth-century Bristol ware. In his mind, Alex had seen all the hands and lives through which the bowl had passed, and in that instant he had been hooked.

The childhood passion had stayed with him through school, through university, through a brief tenure lecturing in art history at a small college. Then he had abandoned the steady salary for a much more precarious, and infinitely more interesting, life as a dealer in English porcelain.

“So, will this bowl make your fortune? If you can bear to part with it, that is,” Otto added with a twinkle born of long association with dealers.

Alex sighed. “Needs must, I’m afraid. And I have an idea who might be interested.”

Otto gazed at him for a moment with an expression Alex couldn’t quite fathom. “You’re thinking Karl Arrowood would want it.”

“It’s right up Arrowood’s alley, isn’t it? You know what Karl’s like; he won’t be able to resist.” Alex imagined the bowl elegantly displayed in the window of Arrowood Antiques, one more thing of beauty for Karl to possess, and the bitterness of his envy seeped into his soul.

“Alex?” Otto seemed to hesitate, then leaned closer, his dark eyes intent. “I do know what he’s like, perhaps more than you. You’ll forgive my interfering, but I’ve heard certain things about you and Karl’s young wife. You know what this place is like, his gesture took in more than the café, nothing stays secret for long. And I fear you do not realize what you’re dealing with. Karl Arrowood is a ruthless man. It doesn’t do to come between him and the things he owns.”

“But,” Alex felt himself flushing. “How?” But he knew it didn’t matter how, only that his affair with Dawn Arrowood had become common knowledge, and that he’d been a fool to think they could keep it hidden.

If the discovery of the delft barber’s bowl had been an epiphanic experience, so had been his first glimpse of Dawn, one day when he’d stopped by the shop to deliver a creamware dinner service.

Dawn had been helping the shop assistant with the window displays. At the sight of her, Alex had stood rooted to the pavement, transfixed. Never had he seen anything so beautiful, so perfect; and then she had met his eyes through the glass and smiled.

After that, she’d begun coming by his stall on Saturday mornings to chat. She’d been friendly rather than coy or flirtatious, and he’d immediately sensed her loneliness. His weeks began to revolve around the anticipation of her Saturday visits, but never had he expected more than that. And then one day she’d shown up unannounced at his flat. “I shouldn’t be doing this,” she’d said, ducking her head so that wisps of blond hair hid her eyes, but she had come inside, and now he couldn’t imagine his life without her.

“Does Karl know?” he asked Otto.

The other man shrugged. “I think you would know if he did. But you can be sure he will find out. And I would hate to lose a good customer. Alex, take my advice, please. She is lovely, but she is not worth your life.”

“This is England, for heaven’s sake, Otto! People don’t go round bumping people off because they’re narked about . . . well, you know.”

Otto stood and carefully reversed his chair. “I wouldn’t be so sure, my friend,” he replied before disappearing into the kitchen.

“Bollocks!” Alex muttered, resolved to slough off Otto’s warning, and he ate his dinner and drank his wine with determination.

His good humor somewhat restored, he walked slowly back to his flat, thinking of the other find he’d made that day, not a steal as the delft bowl had been, but a lovely acquisition just the same, an Art Deco teapot by the English potter Clarice Cliff in a pattern he had seen Dawn admire. It would be his Christmas gift to her, an emblem of their future together.

It was only as he reached the entrance to his mews that a more disturbing thought came to him. If Karl Arrowood learned the truth, was it his own safety which should concern him?

Bryony Poole waited until the door had closed behind the final client of the day, a woman whose cat had an infected ear, before she broached her idea to Gavin. Sitting down opposite him in the surgery’s narrow office cubicle, she shifted awkwardly, trying to find room for her long legs and booted feet. “Look, Gav, there’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about.”

Her boss, a bullet-headed man with shoulders that strained the fabric of his white lab coat, looked up from the chart he was finishing. “That sounds rather ominous. Not leaving me for greener pastures, are you?”

“No, nothing like that.” Gavin Farley had taken Bryony on as his assistant in the small surgery just after her graduation from veterinary college two years ago, and she still considered herself lucky to have the job. Hesitantly, she continued. “It’s just, well, you know how many of the homeless people have dogs?”

“Is this a quiz?” he asked skeptically. “Or are you hitting me up for a donation to the RSPCA?”

From the Hardcover edition.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 15, 2010

    Good Plot but Want a Bit More

    Inspector Gemma James and Superintendent Duncan Kincaid are busy blending families and households when they are assigned to a case in their own new neighborhood. Investigating in their own patch is a touchy proposition, and new friends met become suspects one by one, as Gemma and Duncan have to juggle personal and professional relationships with their new neighbors.
    London's charming Notting Hill community is a vibrant backdrop for the story, but we get only tidbits about the Portobello Market and the Notting Hill Carnival. The main story is set in the present, interwoven with another story from the past. Old grudges and unexpected family connections lead back to the London culture of the 50s and 60s. We get a superficial view of the impact of immigration and the emerging drug scene - just enough to entice, but lacking in richness.
    James & Kincaid are appealing protagonists, and the story has sufficient twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. However, I think the supporting characters and settings could be drawn more deeply, providing a more engrossing read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    clever police procedural

    Deputy Inspector Gemma James and Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid are finally getting their act together. With a baby on the way, Gemma agrees to buy a house with Duncan so that his son and her son from previous marriages, and their son to be born baby from can live together as a family. <P>In her professional life, Gemma is assigned a high profile murder case to solve as quickly as possible. Dawn Arrowood, a trophy wife married to a rich antiques dealer twice her age, is brutally killed near her home, her throat slit. An autopsy shows that she was six weeks pregnant and since her husband had a vasectomy the probability is it was her lover¿s child. As Gemma burns the midnight out, Duncan joins the inquiry because there are similarities between this case and one he was investigating a few months ago. <P>The romantic relationship between the two protagonists is developing naturally and creates a sense of continuity throughout the whole series. Deborah Crombie has written a delicious mystery with so many viable suspects that readers really won¿t have a clue as the identity of the killer is until the stunning climax. AND JUSTICE THERE IS NONE is a clever police procedural as well as an exciting relationship drama. <P>Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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