"Crombie’s characters are rich, emotionally textured, fully human. They are the remarkable creations of a remarkable writer."—Louise Penny
“Nobody writes the modern English mystery the way Deborah Crombie does—and A Bitter Feast is the latest in a series that is gripping, enthralling, and just plain the best.” — Charles Todd, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Ascot and A Cruel Deception
New York Times bestselling author Deborah Crombie returns with a mesmerizing entry in her “excellent” (Miami Herald) series, in which Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are pulled into a dangerous web of secrets, lies, and murder that simmers beneath the surface of a tranquil Cotswolds village.
Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, have been invited for a relaxing weekend in the Cotswolds, one of Britain’s most enchanting regions, famous for its rolling hills, golden cottages, and picturesque villages.
Duncan, Gemma, and their children are guests at Beck House, the family estate of Melody Talbot, Gemma’s detective sergeant. The Talbot family is wealthy, prominent, and powerful—Melody’s father is the publisher of one of London’s largest and most influential newspapers. The centerpiece of this glorious fall getaway is a posh charity harvest luncheon catered by up-and-coming chef Viv Holland. After fifteen years in London’s cut-throat food scene, Viv has returned to the Gloucestershire valleys of her childhood and quickly made a name for herself with her innovative meals based on traditional cuisine but using fresh local ingredients. Attended by the local well-to-do as well as national press food bloggers and restaurant critics, the event could make Viv a star.
But a tragic car accident and a series of mysterious deaths rock the estate and pull Duncan and Gemma into the investigation. It soon becomes clear that the killer has a connection with Viv’s pub—or, perhaps, with Beck House itself.
Does the truth lie in the past? Or is it closer to home, tied up in the tangled relationships and bitter resentments between the staff at Beck House and Viv’s new pub? Or is it more personal, entwined with secrets hidden by Viv and those closest to her?
In bestseller Crombie's sturdy 18th novel featuring Det. Supt. Duncan Kincaid and Det. Insp. Gemma James (after 2017's Garden of Lamentations), Det. Sgt. Melody Talbot invites Gemma, Duncan, their children, and Det. Sgt. Doug Cullen to spend a weekend in the Cotswolds, where her parents are hosting a charity luncheon catered by Viv Holland, a talented pub chef. The day the guests are to arrive, a car accident injures Duncan and kills the other driver. Another fatality is the other driver's passenger, Viv's former boss, celebrity chef Fergus O'Reilly, though an autopsy reveals that Fergus perished before the collision, from poison. Before the understaffed local PD can answer the myriad questions sparked by the crash, a hit-and-run kills yet another person with ties to Viv, prompting Gemma and company to join the investigation. Broadly drawn secondary characters erode the tale's emotional underpinnings and the denouement strains credulity, but a strong sense of place and the core cast's easy camaraderie provide ample distraction. Crombie fans and cozy aficionados will be well pleased. Author tour.