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Necessary as Blood
Deborah Crombie
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Necessary as Blood (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #13)

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  4,024 ratings  ·  233 reviews
Once the haunt of Jack the Ripper, London's East End is a vibrant mix of history and new ideas, but the trendy galleries of Brick Lane disguise a seedy underside where unthinkable crimes bring terror to the innocent. Artist and young mother Sandra Gilles disappears without trace after leaving her three-year-old daughter, Charlotte, with a friend at the Columbia Road Flower ...more
Published by Pan MacMillan Paperback Omes (first published January 1st 2009)
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Terri Lynn
Duncan and Gemma get married- FINALLY- and I loved the wedding. In this book, poor Gemma told Duncan she just wanted to be married, not get married. The pressure being put on her by her mother, who is very sick with leukemia, her jackass father, and her bitchy sister Cindy- none who appreciate and respect her as they should- to have some Princess Diana fantasy wedding was adding severe pressure to her. As it is, she is a police detective inspector, lives with her police superintendent lover,and ...more
I suspect that had this book been written by another author I would have given it five stars, but it's not quite as good as Crombie's Dreaming of the Bones. On the other hand, not many books are. Gemma and Duncan, she in a local precinct and he at Scotland Yard, both become involved in investigating the murder of a young father whose wife disappeared a few months earlier. There are numerous red herrings on the way to the shocking conclusion. The book is set in the East End of London, where yuppi ...more
Such a colourful and fascinating plot, set in an area I am particularly interested in: London's East End.
The characters, Duncan Kincaid, Gemma James and all their family and friends are even more endearing than ever, as their situations and relationships evolve from one novel to the next. The crimes and mystery depicted are very original and enthralling, and the style of writing flows brilliantly.
This time there was no underlying subplot from the past, yet as we read, we learn quite a bit abou
A real mystery (or two) that Gemma and Duncan actually have a real right to be in on.

And I love how their family life evolves in this one.

However, if these people don't stop cooking, I'm going to be as big as a barn. I see Kit making an omelt and think, mmmmmm. Followed by Melanie buying salad. Oh, yeah, that sounds good. Oh, Charlotte got a lemon cupcake? I wonder if they have those at the shop. At least I don't want the champagne or wine or beer.

Don't read further if you don't want spoilers
Mary Ronan Drew
Necessary as Blood is the last of the Duncan Kinkaid/Jemma Jones mysteries published so far. We must wait (at least in the US) until February 7 for the next book in the series.

Here's what Publisher's Weekly says about Necessary as Blood:

"Romance dominates Crombie's 13th contemporary procedural featuring Scotland Yarders Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid, who are on the verge of getting married. The how, where and when of their wedding proves a considerable source of stress to both, overshadowing th
K. Vann O'Brien
My brother bought me this book for Christmas. He put a lot of thought into it, lingering in the isle at a big-box-book store, attempting to figure out what his bibliophile sister would love. And he picked out a murder mystery, which, typically, is not my thing. But because he’s a good brother and because I know it is hard to buy books for me – though they are my absolute favorite present to receive (hint hint) – I gave the book a shot. And I was happy I did.

While this book is hailed as a murder
I have read all the Kincaid/James novels from Crombie and found most of them compelling. Scotland Yard inspectors (i.e. detectives) Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James became a couple several novels back in the series. After that, some of the tension and "kick" of the novels has been lacking. Crombie has spent much of the recent novels, including this one, exploring some of the personal aspects of Kincaid and James's relationship and life together. Their relationships impact their cases and vice vers ...more
Judy, don't read this, as it involves spoilers. When I was younger, the hallmark of a good mystery was that the perpetrator was introduced in the first third or half of the novel. Nowadays, they come in right at the end. Who can deliberate all the characters and figure out the plot, when even the main aspects of the plot and the introduction of the perp don't happen until the end? Trying to figure it out is what makes them fun. All that was missing in this book.

That said, I really liked the sett
Kathleen Hagen
Necessary as Blood, by Deborah Crombie, a-minus, Narrated by Jenny Sterling, Produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from

This book pays particular attention to East End London, especially along Brick Lane, where several cultures live side by side with some tension. Sandra Gilles is an artist who uses textiles to make three-dimensional art projects. She has become fairly successful selling these art pieces. Sandra is married to a Pakistani solicitor, and they have a mixed race child,
Paula LaRocque
Have you read Deborah Crombie? She’s a native Texan, author of a dozen or so novels, and creator of the mystery series featuring Scotland Yard detective duo Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid. [See more at]

Crombie lives in McKinney, a small town north of Dallas, but has resided in both England and Scotland. Like Elizabeth George, she’s an American who has mastered the art of the modern British mystery. She spends much time in the U.K. researching her novels, and her work is s
Every book in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James offers a crash course on some part of London and its history of change. Occasionally, there is another part of England and even Scotland in the mix, but Deborah Crombie usually has the action and mystery occurring in and around the different areas of London. In this novel Duncan and Jemma find themselves involved in London's East End, particularly the Brick Lane section where Indian/Pakistani/Bengali culture is a strong presence. A young Pakistani man ...more
Jill Hutchinson
I enjoy Crombie's books in this series but somehow this one did not quite come up to my expectations and I'm not sure why. It may have been that,although the premise was excellent, the story meandered from one suspect to another and the author couldn't seem to decide on whom to pin the crimes and what motive to decide upon. And then, horror of horrors, the perpetrator is someone who just passes through the scenario briefly. Everything falls together and the motive is revealed in the last 20 page ...more
Catherine Woodman
I love the Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid books--for one thing, there is a nice balance between their home life and their work life, and they are a functional family that is non-traditional, so alot to be loved there. THis one is a good addition to the series. Duncan is involved in a case for professional reasons, whereas Gemma gets interested because she had a personal attachment to one of the victims, so they investigate from two different sides, one from the people he knew and worked with and ...more
Sheila Beaumont
I think this, the 13th book in the Gemma James-Duncan Kincaid police-procedural series, is one of the best. The story, involving a missing woman artist, the murder of her Pakistani lawyer husband, and the fate of their bright 2-year-old daughter, is compelling. The depiction of London's East End is so effective that I felt as though I were there, the characters are vividly portrayed, the prose is excellent, and there's just the right amount of romance. I really enjoyed the family scenes, and tow ...more
Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie continues the adventures of Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid, a series I always enjoy.

Why would a young woman leave her child with a friend for a short time with every intention of returning and then disappear completely? When her husband, the usual suspect, turns up dead the case becomes more involved.

For some reason, although I always enjoy this series, this one didn't quite measure up to previous books. The character development, an element I usually appre
Took me a while to write this review, had to think about it.

This is an okay mystery, but it lacks any real depth insofar as the crime or mystery is concerned. The author spends far too much time on social dynamics, and interpersonal relationships, and that's fine, but it distracts from the mystery, the reasons why two people were killed. I read and read and read hoping to learn more about the suspects, the victims, their relationship to one another, etc. But it was a lot of - not much here. (An
In most Deborah Crombie books, the past impacts the present because usually the current murder is related to some distant past event. In this book, the deep past is the history of the area in which the murder takes place and the waves of immigrants who have made this part of London their home rather than a crime. However, there is still a past crime related to the present crime: the previously unresolved disappearance of the wife of the murder victim, leaving a 3-year-old girl without either par ...more
Kate Baxter
I broke my own personal rule with this book because it got such good reviews. I really dislike starting to read books of a series that are in the middle of the series. The plot sounded interesting so I started to read it and sure enough I couldn't make head nor tail of who was who and how the related to each other. I actually thought about making a chart of the all the characters that showed up in the first three chapters and how I figured they related to one another. Friends, children, siblings ...more
Shannon S.
I enjoy Crombie's unassuming prose and the painstaking research she puts into her novels. I also enjoy her two main protagonists--they are fully delineated, intelligent, and amiable yet with enough flaws to make them realistic. Her books are manifest a lifelong love affair with the city of London--with each novel she presents one of the city's villages and the history that make it unique.

Unfortunately,this one just felt forced. She spent so much time delving into subplots, familial convolutions
Shonna Froebel
I've been reading this series in random order. In this one Gemma and Duncan are planning their wedding, but Gemma just wants to be married, and finds wedding planning stressful.
Meanwhile in Brick Lane, textile artist Sandra Gilles is working on a new piece that gets her wondering about the girls and women in her neighbourhood and she leaves her young daughter with a friend, but never returns. A few months later, her husband Naz steps out for a couple of hours and disappears. Gemma happens to be
Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James #13

There is a lot of turmoil for Gemma in this book. Tim Cavendish calls her because a friend, Naz, of his has disappeared, just like his wife did three months before. Gemma starts investigating. She falls in love with Naz's daughter Charlotte. The next day she gets a call at work. They found Naz's body. Gemma is so worried about what will happen to Charlotte. The man that was in charge of finding Sandra, Naz's wife, sends the case(Naz's death) to Scotland Yard. We
Clever, engaging plot with a balance of tragedy & satisfying moments of meaningful humanity. The relationships crafted by the author are complex and full of the messiness that even the most committed of friends, family, co-workers , & life partners often create in moments of insecurity, anger, or poor judgement. Because her characters are so "human", the positive, and sometimes very romantic turns of the story don't seem silly or inappropriate in the context of an intense police investig ...more
NECESSARY AS BLOOD reminded me how much I love this series. I don't know why I have waited so long to get back to this series. I will make up for lost time now.
Intricately woven storylines of murder, family illness, wedding prep woes. I like that real life intrudes on the investigations of the murder and disappearance of a couple whose child is left to a possible life in the maw of social services.
Gemma's family wants her and Duncan to have a traditional wedding, she's feeling the stress of ev
Lucy Burdette
The language is lovely, the characters appealing, and the plot complex. Highly recommended.
This series continues to grow on me. Every time I start reading one of Deborah Crombie’s Kincaid & James novels, I promise myself I’m going to take it slow and savor the experience.

Every time I end up reading faster and faster and longer and longer to find out what happened – not just who the guilty party is but what’s going on in the lives of Kincaid and James and the people around them.

Every book in this series is multi-layered with several plots running through each one and they overlap,
This is my favorite Gemma and Duncan book ever, right behind "Dreaming of the bones." The book opens with the disappearance of an artist, leaving behind her beloved husband and child. Next, the husband is murdered. Gemma is roped into the mystery because her friend Hazel's husband knows the murdered man and the daugher, Charlotte. Gemma grows attached to the daughter, seeing her as a substitute for the child she miscarried in a previous book. Scotland Yard is called in when the local police offi ...more
Another one of the series with Gemma and Duncan Kincaid, both of Scotland Yard, in which author Crombie takes a specific neighborhood in London, in this case the East End, and spends the entire book, having Gemma and Kincaid finding bodies, and visiting people in the vicinity. The neighborhood becomes a character in and of itself. I think the author Crombie isn’t so good at place and setting, it is confusing for the reader to try to track all the movements, but she is good at character developme ...more
#13 Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James British police procedural. This book's theme is London's East End, specifically the Brick Lane area, notable for its rich Indian/Pakistani/Bengali culture. Gemma is visiting her friend Hazel, newly back in London, when Hazel's soon-to-be-ex-husband Tim calls Gemma and asks her to look into the disappearance of a friend. Nasir, a Bengali lawyer, was supposed to pick up his three-year-old daughter from the sitter several hours previously but hasn't turned up. Since N ...more
I have mot read the series, just one or two out of the 13. This book is enough to have me go back and read them all. I love the easy writing style, the descriptive passages but, most of all, the development of all the characters (even in a couple of books). This story revealed a bit more of London areas, the issues of colour and the difficulties of full integration. I am now on the search for #14 just so I can see the future for Charlotte.
The 13th in the series featuring Gemma Doyle and Duncan Kincaid. I enjoy these. Once again, familiar characters drop in for cameo (sometimes important cameo)roles. They've grown and changed to. And the relationship between the main characters is as much a part of what keeps me reading as the mysteries.

The mysteries themselves are fine, but sometimes the critical pieces of information aren't there until the last fifteen pages. Some hitherto only barely seen character pops up and s/he is the badd
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Deborah Crombie is the author of 15 novels featuring Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Detective Inspector Gemma James. The 16th Kincaid/James novel, To Dwell in Darkness, will be released by William Morrow in September, 2014.

Crombie lives in McKinney, Texas with her husband, two German Shepherd Dogs, and two cats. She travels to Britain frequently to research her books.
More about Deborah Crombie...

Other Books in the Series

Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #1)
  • All Shall Be Well (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #2)
  • Leave the Grave Green (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #3)
  • Mourn Not Your Dead (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #4)
  • Dreaming of the Bones (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #5)
  • Kissed a Sad Goodbye (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #6)
  • A Finer End (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #7)
  • And Justice There Is None (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #8)
  • Now May You Weep (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #9)
  • In a Dark House (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #10)
A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #1) No Mark Upon Her (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #14) Dreaming of the Bones (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #5) Where Memories Lie (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #12) All Shall Be Well (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #2)

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