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No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie

No Mark Upon Her (2011)

by Deborah Crombie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James (14)

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5555417,987 (4.12)69



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I have read a number of enjoyable mysteries of late, but this one . . . Oh, how I love thee, Deborah Crombie! Where have you been all my life and why haven't I read anything by you before? No Mark Upon Her is the 14th book in the series, I believe, but my first one by the author. It didn't matter that I didn't know the history of the characters (although, I am infinitely curious now and must know all!). The author offers enough background story to give the reader a good feel for the characters and their situations while at the same time not introducing irrelevant information.

What is the book about, you ask? A detective who is a skilled rower is found dead on the Thames. Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid is called back from vacation to investigate the matter. It's a particularly sensitive case, one in which people in high placed hope it will get resolved quickly, even if that means swept under the carpet. Duncan Kincaid, however, is not the kind of man to take the easy way out. He wants to find justice for the victim even if it means his job. His wife, a detective herself, helps on the sidelines while juggling the care of their three children.

Rowing isn't a particularly favorite sport of mine--I have nothing against it, mind you, just very little exposure to it--but I am not one to let something like that stand in my way of reading a book. I like learning about new things. That's part of what reading is all about, right?

I liked the way Crombie weaved the characters' personal stories in with the murder investigation. Seeing them at home, so to speak, made them all the more relatable. There was just enough of their personal life to give the reader a good idea of what kind of people the characters are and to understand their way of thinking.

I was quite taken with Duncan Kincaid. He is intelligent and open minded. He is also a good father. I especially liked how much he respects and loves his wife. Gemma James is just as strong a character as her husband, and I could appreciate her inner conflict--looking forward to getting back to work but at the same time not wanting to leave the children.

Two characters I wish I could get to know better but doubt I will see in future books are the K-9 rescue team, Keiran and Tavie and their dogs. Both seem like formidable people and it was impossible for me not to fall in love with a couple of rescue dogs. Keiran in particular won me over. He was a sad sort of character, dealing with a broken heart as well as quite a few health problems due to injuries incurred in war.

As for the investigation, the detectives did not have a lot to go on, and with pressures from above, they were faced with even more challenges. While I am not sure "sitting on the edge of my seat" is an apt description of the pacing of the book, I certainly had a hard time putting it down and couldn't wait to get back to it. The weekend everyone in the house was sick and I'd left the book at work was torture. I kept thinking of Becca and wondering what had happened to her.

No Mark Upon Her has it all: characters who get under your skin, an idyllic English setting, betrayal, ethical issues, family, suspense, and an itch to read more. Deborah Crombie has won me over with this one novel and is sure to become among my favorite mystery authors. ( )
  LiteraryFeline | Nov 25, 2017 |
When a fellow police officer is found dead, Superintendent Duncan Kincaid is brought in to lead the investigation. The victim, Rebecca Meredith, is a competitive rower and it was a on an early evening training run when she was killed. Becca’s body is found by a K-9 search and rescue team alerted when she was still considered a missing person. Turns out one of the dog-handlers knew the victim.

On the home front Kincaid and Gemma James are preparing to switch roles. Gemma James will be returning to work after a family leave and Duncan will become an at-home daddy to the three children in the household. They’re especially concerned about the youngest, Charlotte, a toddler they took in after both her parents were murdered (in Necessary as Blood). They want her well prepared to go to nursery school, but know that will take some time until she feels secure without Kincaid and Gemma nearby.

So, Kincaid wants to get this case resolved … and quickly, so he can go on leave as scheduled. His superiors are hoping for a quick conclusion, preferably one that doesn’t embarrass the constabulary in the process. It appears that’s not to be when Gemma’s colleague alerts her to a possible link between a retired cop and the victim. Further digging determine there’s a lot more to that story and the police higher-ups are not going to like it.

I’ve been reading this series for a very long time and always find the books riveting. No Mark Upon Her did not disappoint. The family saga is usually almost as interesting as the murder at hand. ( )
  NewsieQ | Sep 25, 2017 |
No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie
Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series Book #14

From the Book:
Olympic rowing hopeful and senior Metropolitan Police officer DCI Rebecca Meredith goes out alone to train on the river in Henley on a dark afternoon in late October - and doesn't return. When a desperate search by the police and a K9 team reveals the possibility of foul play, Scotland Yard wants one of their own on the case. Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, returning from celebrating his marriage to long-time partner Detective Inspector Gemma James, is called to Henley to investigate. He soon finds that the world of elite rowing can be brutal, and that Rebecca Meredith's ex-husband was not the only person with good reason for wanting her dead. Then, when a search-and-rescue team member is threatened, Kincaid realizes the case may be even more complex and more dangerous than he believed.

My Thoughts:
I really liked the setting and the story line but the one early draw back that mainly is the reason that it cost it a star in the rating was that the case and the mystery were very nearly lost in details of Duncan Kincaid and his wife Gemma’s life. While that adds to the understanding and filling out the picture to the characters and story, it became overwhelming and distracting. There was enough tension and very well-done plot twists to make it a good read...but not a great book or even one of Deborah Crombie's best offerings. I like working a little to identify the killer and in this one I knew who it was almost from the very first appearance. Overall...a worthwhile read with believable characters. ( )
  Carol420 | Oct 3, 2016 |
Mysteries usually aren't my thing, but I really enjoyed this. I will have to read more of this series. It was easy to follow in spite of not having read any of her previous books, which I am now going to have to read. ( )
  Electablue | Apr 20, 2016 |
As with all of Crombie's stories in this series, I learned something new. This one features rowers, the regattas, and that special sport we all see once in awhile but don't really understand.

Crombie delves into the sport and manages to give us a ripping mystery, keep the romance between Duncan and Gemma alive, and advance the series all in one enjoyable read. ( )
1 vote tututhefirst | Nov 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
Those familiar with Crombie's works will welcome another episode deepening the ongoing Kincaid-James relationship and enjoy the lengthy discussions about family happenings. Newcomers, however, will find that such details distract from the central plot. Although Crombie's novels have garnered her international acclaim, particularly in Germany, her multilayered and heavily textured style dampens the fluidity of a thrilling detective tale.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Jerry P. Miller (Jan 1, 2012)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Crombie, Deborahprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hibert, NicoleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jäger, AndreasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The art of sculling is like any other art. It is perfected only with constant practice so that each movement is graceful and is done correctly without thinking about it.

--George Pocock
Notes on the Sculling Stroke as Performed by Professional Scullers on the Thames River, England
For David Thompson, 1971-2010,
who wanted me to finish the book
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A glance at the sky made her swear aloud.
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Book description
When a K9 search and rescue team finds a body tangled up with debris in the Thames Scotland Yard superintendent Duncan Kincaid finds himself heading an investigation that could end his career. The victim, Rebecca Meredith, was an Olympic rowing hopeful determined to make a comeback. She was also a detective with the Met – a situation that raises a host of political and ethical issues that complicate the case.
Aided by his wife, Inspector Gemma James, Duncan and his team discover that both Meridith's rowing colleagues and her ex-husband had reason to want her dead. But when someone tries to kill the search and rescue team member who found Rebecca's body, the case becomes even more complex and dangerous, involving powerful interests with tentacles that reach deep into the heart of the Met itself.
Surrounded by enemies with friendly faces, pressured to find answers quickly and protect the yard form the rabid media desperate for dirt, his career and reputation on the line, Kincaid must race to catch the killer before more innocent lives are lost – including his own.
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This mystery novel embroils Kincaid and James in the case of the puzzling drowning of a rower, a Met detective, on the Thames. It is twisting tale of psychological suspense, a story rich in deadly secrets, salacious lies, and unexpected betrayals.

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