Monday, October 7, 2019

A Bitter Feast

A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie
HarperCollins: 10/8/19
eBook review copy; 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062271662
Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Series #18

A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie is a highly recommended addition to the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Series.

Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, and their children have been invited to Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot's family estate located in the Cotswolds. The Talbot family is wealthy and influential, and the weekend is going to feature Lady Addie's, Melody's mother, charity harvest luncheon which is being prepared by Chef Viv Holland. Viv was a well-known chef in London, but after leaving there and laying low for a while, she is now cooking for a pub and quickly reestablishing a name for herself. This event will be attended by local big wigs, as well as the national food press and restaurant critics.

The whole event is plagued from the start. Viv has a chef she previously worked with show up and later that evening he is involved in a fatal traffic accident when the car he is riding in hits Duncan's car as he is headed to Talbot's estate. Duncan is injured but will recover, but this accident heralds the start of a weekend full of investigations to assist the local understaffed PD. There is a whole lot going on, but is it all tied to Viv's past or is there something else behind the nefarious activities.

This is a comfortable continuation of the well-written, long running series. We know the characters and can easily slip into the current story and situation as the new characters are introduced and the mystery needs to be solved. The narrative covers the present day events and alternates to tell the story of Viv's past in the London restaurant scene. The characters are well-developed over the course of the series. It's difficult for me to evaluate character development based on this one book - I know these people. While I think it is likely best appreciated by readers of the series, it could also be read as a stand-alone, although there are enough references to things to keep you up to speed, but also to encourage reading the whole series.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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