On a winter's evening in Notting Hill, Dawn Arrowood drives home after a doctor's appointment confirming her pregnancy. She is terrified. Her older husband has made it clear that he wants no children, and Dawn is not even sure that the child is his. But as Dawn arrives home, she is attacked as she gets out of her car. In the ensuing struggle, her assailant whispers in her ear 'I'm sorry'. And he cuts her throat.
Gemma Jones and Duncan Kincaid are called to the crime scene. The gripping case that develops forces them to investigate 1960s Notting Hill and its racial tensions, the Russian mafia and a possible serial killer. . .
And at the same time, Gemma, pregnant herself with Kincaid's child, has to cope with her own rollercoaster of emotions in a case that is rather too close to home for comfort.
There's more truth than humor in Crombie's eighth thriller set in contemporary London. When someone does in Dawn Arrowood, the young, pregnant wife of a wealthy antiques dealer, in her soign Notting Hill home, Inspector Gemma James is put in charge of the investigation. Gemma's lover, Det. Supt. Duncan Kincaid, believes the murder is the work of a serial killer, but Gemma suspects the victim's husband, Karl Arrowood. Despite their combined efforts, the slasher strikes again. Fearful of igniting a new Jack the Ripper style panic, Duncan and Gemma soon find themselves at odds when their investigations become linked in startling, unexpected ways, culminating in an exciting denouement with serious undercurrents. Crombie keeps the action moving throughout, providing a cook's tour of London, from Tower Bridge to Portobello Market, as well as plenty of gruesome detail ("Kincaid felt the bile rise in the back of his throat as he squatted, using his pocket torch to illuminate Dawn Arrowood's motionless form"). There's some amusing sociological commentary interspersed throughout, plus the occasional frisson ("A jogger brushed past, startling him a tall, slender, hooded figure. Alex felt a shock of familiarity, but when he turned, the man had vanished"). The result is a competently plotted, reasonably engaging mystery that blazes no new pathways, but keeps the reader involved all the way to its predictably sanguinary conclusion. FYI:The author has been nominated for Edgar, Agatha and Macavity awards. The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association named Crombie'sDreaming of the Bones one of the 20th century's best mystery novels.