My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Deborah Crombie is one of those writers who reliably comes through with an engrossing, fast moving mystery, especially if Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are the detectives on the case. The Sound of Broken Glass is no exception. Newly married, Duncan and Gemma are working out child care arrangements for their blended family, and Duncan’s being house husband for a while. Gemma lands the case of a London barrister who was murdered in a seedy hotel. A few days later, another death occurs, seemingly with the same MO. She expects a relatively straightforward crime, once she can pin down a motive, but both of these crimes have roots dug firmly into events that occurred more than fifteen years ago. With the assistance of her new partner, DS Melody Talbott, Gemma tries to untangle a very twisted knot indeed. And some of the entanglements are only just beginning.
Ms Crombie deftly manages the narration and interweaving of present and past by using a series of flashbacks, which recount the memories of one of the prime suspects in the current murders. There is no dearth of possible killers, all of whom have interesting back stories that lead to credible motives. The setting, a hot London summer in the down-at-the heel Crystal Palace neighborhood, lends a fitting ambience to the investigation. Written so smoothly and intelligently that the pages just fly by, Broken Glass is an outstanding police procedural, so much more than a mere whodunit.