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Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie

Dreaming of the Bones (edition 1999)

by Deborah Crombie

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7462012,468 (3.98)70
Title:Dreaming of the Bones
Authors:Deborah Crombie
Info:Pan Books (1999), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library, Murder Mystery/Thriller
Tags:Duncan Kincaid, Gemma James, serial, police, murder, mystery, England, British, novel, fiction

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Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie



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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
My fifth book by this author, and fifth in this series (I haven’t actually checked to see if the author has anything outside this series).

I admit, upfront, that my ability to enjoy the book was adversely impacted by the reading format. This is, in its way, strange and or confusing. It’s not like that one time I tried a book by Patricia Briggs and decided to try audio books – and found a male narrator, who took an odd high-pitched voice every time a female came onto the scene; which was unfortunate as the book was mainly from a female point of view. And therefore my ability to enjoy the book was decreased. No, this wasn’t some experiment in new reading/hearing/whatever. It was going back and doing something I had done for something like 30 plus years. Read a paperback. So, I admit, changing format probably caused me to not enjoy this book as well as I might have. I’ve already spent too many words and too much time on this nonsense, but will just leave this topic with a note that I found it difficult to read straight through, and kept having to put the book aside to read something digital.

Right then, so the story itself. Beyond issues that were, for the most part my own fault, there were some negatives as well from the book’s side of the issue. I’ll just note one. There were just way too many character points of views. As I made a note in my updates when I got to page 21, just 5% into the book:

"Good grief. I'm on page 21 and the start of something like the 7th point of view change. 7th if you include the italicized 'fiction' that opened the book. Lydia the dead woman, Victoria Kincaid McClellan, Gemma James, Duncan Kincaid, Darcy Eliot, Nathan Winter, Adam Lamb . . . glancing ahead that might be all of them. All of the POV's."
I do not have a count now, but there were more people who popped up for their own little scenes in control of the book. And that ‘italicized fiction that opened the book’ continued – well, instead of fiction there were letters from Lydia to her mother to convey her point of view (I think I recall all of them were to her mother).

In broad strokes the book is about Duncan Kincaid’s former wife, Victoria McClellan, writing a biography of Lydia Brooke, a poet who had died roughly five years before the opening of the book. While researching Lydia’s life, and mostly getting negative reactions from her intended interviewees, Vicki comes to the conclusion that Lydia’s tragic death just didn’t add up as a suicide. For numerous reasons. So she contacts her ex-husband Duncan to look into matters. He has no specific legal jurisdiction in Cambridge but has a friend on the police force there who he can ask to see the police report. So he does that. He himself spots some bits of factoids that indicate that suicide might not actually been what had occurred. But he doesn’t know what else he can do, and he isn’t really certain how much it matters – at least in terms of Vicki’s biography (there’s a bit from Gemma James about how Duncan just didn’t understand, a successful woman who made it on her own right, and was murdered for it, has a much different impact on other women – readers of the biography, than if the woman ultimately failed, and committed suicide; to which I just note that . . . whether or not someone was murdered, died in an accident, or committed suicide, regardless of who the individual might be, is, on its own, interesting to see in a biography).

So, as far as Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are concerned, the matter can be dropped on their end. Or, at least, they don’t know what more they can do. Meanwhile, Vicki continues to investigate. Then an event occurs which I can’t really specify, which leads Kincaid, and later James, to add their weight to the investigation. The desires to not dive into spoiler territory require me to suspend my review at this point.

For the most part, once I got past my own problems with how I was reading the book, I found the book to be quite interesting and well-written. A rather good British mystery. Written by a Texan.

December 29 2015 ( )
  Lexxi | Jan 1, 2016 |
One of my favorite series is the one featuring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James by Deborah Crombie as this author gets the mix of mystery and the on-going romance between the main characters just right. Dreaming of the Bones is the fifth book in the series, and we find Duncan and Gemma have settled into their working and romantic relationship.

When Duncan’s ex-wife calls from Cambridge and ask him to look into a past death that was labelled a suicide, Gemma is not best pleased, but when another death that is definitely murder occurs she is quick to join Duncan in his investigation.

This book will change the relationship between the two in a specific way and I am looking forward to seeing how they work things out in the future. I admire how this author realistically portrays her characters, they make adult decisions and are taking their relationship slowly as they learn to adjust to having a significant other in their lives after being let down in the past. Both a well done mystery and another step for this developing adult relationship, Dreaming of the Bones was a great addition to the series. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Aug 23, 2015 |
Deborah Crombie provides her fans a mystery that spans all the way back to WWI.

The intricate story tells of Lydia Brooke, a poet. When she was a student at Cambridge in the 1960s, she emulated her namesake, Edwardian poet, Rupert Brooke.

Lydia died five years prior to the events in this story. Her death was attributed to suicide.

Dr. Vic McClellan, Duncan Kincaid's former wife, calls him out of the blue and asks for his help. Duncan and his lover, Gemma Jones, have a comfortable life together. Duncan is a police superintendent at Scotland Yard and Gemma is a police sergeant there.

Gemma is a bit uncomfortable with Duncan seeing his former wife but doesn't say anything. While Duncan hadn't heard from Vic since she walked out on him twelve years ago, he agrees to help.

When he does, the fun begins. The complexity winds up and the literary characters jump out of the page.

Vic is doing a biography on Lydia and something about her death doesn't seem right. She wants Duncan to look at the case.

Although it's not in Duncan's district and he takes vacation to investigate, the facts begin to unravel
There is a major surprise and a guest of characters who might be guilty of murder. Alfred Hitchcock would be watering at the mouth thinking about directing this novel as a movie.

We visit the historical times back to WWI when Rupert Brooke died in 1915. Crumbie tells us that Brooke never saw action during the war. He died of blood poisoning at Division Field Day and when Churchill and other officials read his sonnets about the war, they thought he'd make a good martyr.

There is good insight into the character of Lydia through the newsy letters she writes to her mother.

Overall, interesting, an excellent police procedural and as Duncan and Emma examine the suspects, it is a story that captivates the reader. ( )
  mikedraper | Apr 20, 2015 |
This is the fourth book in the Deborah Crombie series about Duncan Kincaid, an upper-class Scotland Yard superintendent, and Sergeant Gemma James, his partner and lover. The fact that I have not read the others in this series did not prevent me from enjoying this book. In this fourth book Vic McClellan, Duncan's ex-wife and a member of the English faculty at Cambridge, is writing a biography of Lydia Brooke, a Cambridge poet whose death five years earlier was attributed to suicide. Convinced that Lydia didn't kill herself, Vic asks Duncan to look into the poet's death. Duncan is reluctant, because of his personal feelings for Vic—she left their marriage 12 years earlier. But based on her evidence he is convinced that there may be some questions about the death. Soon he is even more certain when Vic is murdered. Assisted by Gemma, he sets out to find the killer. I found this book to be fast paced, well written (not always the case with mysteries), with a number of twists and turns. I also enjoyed the developing relationship between Duncan and Gemma, particularly as it is effected by Duncan’s feelings for his ex-wife. This is a series I plan on continuing to read. 4 out of 5 stars. ( )
  marsap | Feb 16, 2015 |
I love this series, but found this book to be my least favorite of the ones I've read so far. The intertwining of all the literary allusions, and the need to consult literature to solve this one was a bit of a stretch. Still, I enjoyed getting some backfill on Kinkaid's previous marriage, and his relationship to the young boy Kit.

It's definitely worth reading in sequence, but only as a placeholder to get to the next one ( )
1 vote tututhefirst | Sep 1, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Deborah Crombieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kilgariff, PatriciaReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Books, RecordedPublishersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frauendorf-Mössel, ChristineÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuipers, HugoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuipers, NienkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lahana, JacquelineTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rovenská, Alenasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Studio Jan de BoerCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There are four ways to write a woman's life:
the woman herself may tell it,
in what she chooses to call an autobiography;
she may tell it in what she chooses to call fiction;
a biographer, woman or man,
may write the woman's life
in what is called a biography;
or the woman may write her own life,
in advance of living it, unconsciously,
and without recognizing or naming the process.

from Writing a Woman's Life
This book is for Terry,
with gratitude for her voice,
among many other things.
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The post slid through the letter box, cascading onto the tile floor of the entry hall with a sound like the wind rustling through bamboo.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061150401, Mass Market Paperback)

"Deborah Crombie might be the most British of American mystery novelists," said an astute reviewer in reference to Mourn Not Your Dead, the fourth book in her excellent series about Duncan Kincaid, an inoffensively upper-class Scotland Yard superintendent, and Sergeant Gemma James, his rougher-edged partner and lover. In addition to her finely tuned ear for the subtler nuances of Britspeak, Crombie--a resident of Richardson, Texas--achieves a rare and therefore enviable balance between the details of her characters' private lives and the plot of each particular book. That delicate balance is especially welcome in Dreaming of the Bones, when Kincaid's former wife, Dr. Victoria McClellan, threatens his personal and professional equanimity. A Cambridge don, Vic has been writing a biography of poet Lydia Brooke, who claimed kinship to the distinguished World War I bard Rupert Brooke, and whose suicide five years before is now beginning to appear suspiciously like murder.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:32 -0400)

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The Scotland Yard duo of Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, who are investigating the murder of a woman poet, discover a clue in her poetry. A look at a Cambridge literary set. By the author of Mourn Not Your Dead.

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