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Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his partner, Sergeant Gemma James, take their sons to picturesque Cheshire for their first family Christmas with Duncan's parents—a holiday both dreaded and anticipated. But not even the charming town of Nantwich and the dreaming canals can mask the tensions in Duncan's family, which are tragically heightened by the discovery of an infant's body hidden in the wall of an old dairy. As Duncan and Gemma help the police investigate the infant's death, another murder strikes closer to home, revealing that far from being idyllic, Duncan's childhood paradise holds dark and deadly secrets . . . secrets that threaten everything and everyone Duncan and Gemma hold most dear.
When Scotland Yard superintendent Duncan Kincaid takes Gemma, Kit, and Toby for a holiday visit to his family in Cheshire, Gemma is soon entranced with Nantwich's pretty buildings and the historic winding canal, and young Kit is instantly smitten with his cousin Lally. But their visit is marred by family tensions exacerbated by the unraveling of Duncan's sister Juliet's marriage. And tensions are brought to the breaking point on Christmas Eve with Juliet's discovery of a mummified infant's body interred in the wall of an old dairy barn—a tragedy hauntingly echoed by the recent drowning of Peter Llewellyn, a schoolmate of Lally's. Meanwhile, on her narrowboat, former social worker Annie Lebow is living a life of self-imposed isolation and preparing for a lonely Christmas, made more troubling by her meeting earlier in the day with the Wains, a traditional boating family whose case precipitated Annie's leaving her job. As the police make their inquiries into the infant's death, Kincaid discovers that life in the lovely market town of his childhood is far from idyllic and that the dreaming reaches of the Shropshire Union Canal hold dark and deadly secrets . . . secrets that may threaten everything and everyone he holds most dear.
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.
A week's holiday in a luxurious Yorkshire time-share is just what Scotland Yard's Superintendent Duncan Kincaid needs. But the discovery of a body floating in the whirlpool bath ends Kincaid's vacation before it's begun. One of his new acquaintances at Followdale House is dead; another is a killer. Despite a distinct lack of cooperation from the local constabulary, Kincaid's keen sense of duty won't allow him to ignore the heinous crime, impelling him to send for his enthusiastic young assistant, Sergeant Gemma James. But the stakes are raised dramatically when a second murder occurs, and Kincaid and James find themselves in a determined hunt for a fiendish felon who enjoys homicide a bit too much.
Necessary As Blood is the latest entry in Deborah Crombie’s New York Times Notable, Edgar®, Agatha, and Macavity Awards-nominated mystery series featuring Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. A Texan frequently compared to the masters of British crime fiction—including P.D. James, Martha Grimes, Barbara Vine, and fellow American Elizabeth George—Crombie dazzles once more with Necessary As Blood—a relentlessly suspenseful tale of a vanished mother, a murdered father, and a helpless, endangered child.
Scotland Yard's finest, Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, return in this acclaimed "New York Times" Notable series, as they investigate an intense mystery involving marriage and murder.
An important and powerful policeman has been murdered, bludgeoned to death in his own kitchen. Few in suburban Surrey mourn the violent passing of Division Commander Alastair Gilbert, whose arrogance and cruelty were legendary in his village and in wider police circles -- which only makes the job of Scotland Yard investigators Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James more difficult. And as every discovery reveals another instance of misplaced trust, festering secrets, and murderous rage, they must put aside their own personal feelings for the victim -- and for each other -- in the name of justice and the law.
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