Monday, February 6, 2023

A Killing of Innocents

A Killing of Innocents by Deborah Crombie
2/7/23; 368 pages
Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Series #19

A Killing of Innocents by Deborah Crombie is a highly recommended procedural and the 19th book in the series featuring Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James.

In London's historic Russell Square Sasha Johnson, a trainee doctor at Thomas Coram Hospital, is fatally stabbed. The only witness, a child, just saw someone bump into her and quickly walk away into the crowd. When Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his sergeant, Doug Cullen, are called to the scene, they realize they just saw the women twenty minuted earlier in a pub, seemingly waiting for someone who didn't arrive. As they begin to look into Sasha's background, there doesn't seem to be an obvious motive for someone to want to murder her.

Kincaid immediately calls in his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, who is on a task force on knife crimes, and her partner detective sergeant Melody Talbot, to aid in the investigation. Sasha Johnson, however, doesn’t fit the profile of a typical knifing victim. There are several suspects with some ties to Sasha or with  people she knows. Sasha herself had secrets she was keeping.

Crombie follows the discoveries in the investigation while also realistically covering the many complications of their personal lives while balancing work and family. Both the story lines are interesting, although the personal complications will be more interesting for fans of the series who really know these characters. At this point in the series all the characters are full realized and well-developed.

The writing is excellent and the case is interesting. The compelling plot keeps the narrative moving along swiftly along. There are many characters and many point-of-view presented which readers of the series will easily follow but those new to the characters may feel a bit overwhelmed. The good news is that A Killing of Innocents can be read as a stand-alone for anyone who is not following the series, just skimming over the personal drama, while those who follow the series will be equally interested in the investigation and personal lives of these characters.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins via Edelweiss.

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