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The sound of broken glass by Deborah Crombie

The sound of broken glass (edition 2013)

by Deborah Crombie

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3422332,058 (4.04)43
Title:The sound of broken glass
Authors:Deborah Crombie
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The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie



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This is a wonderful series, deftly mixing solid mysteries with character development of the regular cast. You wouldn't HAVE to read the series in order, but I'd highly recommend doing so. ( )
  Gingermama | Jan 24, 2016 |
Another superb story by Ms. Crombie. I love her ability to end a book, in a way that makes the reader hanker for the next one immediately. ( )
  Conkie | Feb 17, 2015 |
Another good one from a consistently good author. I was fascinated by the tidbits of history about the Crystal Palace and the neighborhood surrounding it.

It's nice to see Gemma and Duncan settling into married life,but I especially liked that Crombie isn't trying to hand us a fairy tale marriage. For fans of the series, it just keeps getting better. ( )
  tututhefirst | Nov 15, 2014 |
This author is consistently engaging in her series featuring London police detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James (now married to each other). The two of them juggle care for their blended family of three children with investigating murders.

This particular case is centered in Crystal Palace, a residential area in South London named after the landmark building housing the Great Exhibition of 1851. Because of the 1848 invention of the cast plate glass method, the structure featured the largest amount of glass ever seen in a building and thus was dubbed a "Crystal Palace.” Originally erected in Hyde Park, London, it was moved to South London in 1854, but burned to the ground in 1936. The neighborhood in South London kept the name however.

Historical notes about the original Crystal Palace are presented in epigraphs at the head of each chapter, and have some parallels to the action in each chapter which takes place in the eponymous neighborhood.

As the story begins, Duncan is on parental leave doing childcare duties, and Gemma is filling an emergency vacancy as Acting Detective Chief Inspector for a South London murder investigation team. The first case that comes to her and her partner, Melody Talbot, is a dead barrister found in a seedy hotel in Crystal Palace, naked and tied up in what looks like a bondage situation gone bad. But shortly thereafter, another barrister turns up dead in the same way. Gemma and Melody track clues with the help of Duncan and Duncan’s partner, Doug Cullen, who is also temporarily off the job.

Crombie takes us back and forth in time as the investigation unfolds. One of the suspects is an attractive guitar player, Andy Monahan, who Melody unfortunately finds attractive. Fifteen years earlier, as a lonely teenage broncin' buck, Andy found relief from his cares by playing the guitar, having received a very nice one as a gift from his neighbor. You could hear him thinking years later....

"I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while..."

Alas, the music didn’t die (as in "Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie"), but something else very bad happened, and the repercussions drive this story in the current day.

Complications and coincidences spice up the story as the tension builds, because it is a forgone conclusion that the killer isn’t finished.

Evaluation: Crombie is a solidly good writer, and her novels feature the perfect blend of character development and crime solving. In addition, she strikes an excellent balance between assuring us of the gruesomeness of a crime without horrifying us with too many lurid details.

Although this is the fifteenth book in the series, I haven’t read them all (regrettably), but had no trouble whatsoever picking up on the background of the series. ( )
1 vote nbmars | Aug 8, 2014 |
A barrister is found naked, bound and dead in a hotel room in the Crystal Palace area of London. As Detective Inspector Gemma James and her colleague Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot investigate the hours leading up to the victim’s death, she discovers a link to a guitarist who’s about to hit it big in the music world. Talbot interviews the musician and winds up getting involved with him, complicating the case and compromising her role as investigator. Then a second murder occurs and the two women work to find a connection between the two victims.

Interwoven with the contemporary story is a secondary plot, which goes back several years. That involves a boy with an alcoholic mother and his friendship with widowed neighbor who takes him under her wing. The boy is being tormented by two bully boys who seem bent on making his life even more miserable.

While Gemma is investigating, her husband Duncan, on leave from his job as a detective superintendent, plays Mr. Mom to their toddler foster daughter Charlotte. He’s itching to get back to work but first he needs to ensure the girl is well cared for while both parents work. That is complicated by her tragic past and the separation anxiety she is experiencing. But Duncan finds a way to get back in the game, unofficially, by helping Gemma interview an acquaintance who has a slight involvement with the case.

The Sound of Broken Glass is exactly what fans of this series expect: intricate plotting, top-notch writing and great continuing characters. Mystery purists may think there’s too much of the main characters’ personal life, but I think that’s what gives the series its edge. A definite winner! ( )
1 vote NewsieQ | May 11, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Deborah Crombieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doyle, GerardReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aquan, Richard L.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harte, RichardCover photographsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jäger, AndreasÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Lisa Haskell and Ann Christ,
whose kindness and generosity over the years have helped
make London my second home.

And for Steve Ullathorne,
who insisted I write a book about Crysral Palace.
First words
It had been years since she'd been in an English church.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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While investigating the murder of a well-respected barrister who was found dead at a seedy hotel in Crystal Palace, Detective Inspector Gemma James and her partner, Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot, begin to question everything they think they know about their world and those they trust most.… (more)

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