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

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  5,431 Ratings  ·  303 Reviews

Once the haunt of Jack the Ripper, London's East End is a vibrant mix of history and the avant-garde, where elegant Georgian town houses exist side by side with colorful street markets and the hippest clubs. But here races and cultures still clash, and the trendy galleries and glamorous nightlife disguise a violent and seedy underside.

Sandra Gilles, a young mother, lea

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by William Morrow (first published January 1st 2009)
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J.C. JULY 2016: I've seen three more (#14–16 in the Kincaid/James series) in my U.S. library:  No Mark Upon Her, The Sound of Broken Glass, and To Dwell in…moreJULY 2016: I've seen three more (#14–16 in the Kincaid/James series) in my U.S. library:  No Mark Upon Her, The Sound of Broken Glass, and To Dwell in Darkness.(less)

Community Reviews

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Terri Lynn
Oct 24, 2012 Terri Lynn rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 30, 2009 Nikki rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, fiction
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
Feb 27, 2017 Margaret rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, 2017-challenge
A woman disappears, then, three months later her husband is found murdered. And what is Gemma to do about their small child who is now alone?

An interesting story that takes place deep in the heart of London's East End and deals with some of the all too real problems of the area.

Well written, well plotted, and an absorbing read.

Highly recommended.
Nov 18, 2009 Robyn rated it liked it
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
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
Aug 30, 2010 Paula LaRocque rated it really liked it
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
Feb 07, 2017 Gail rated it really liked it
The disappearance of a lawyer and father prompts an investigation by Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid; when they discover that the wife of the missing man disappeared three months previous, the stage is set for a mystery.
In their personal lives, Gemma and Duncan are engaged, but the pressure being exerted by Gemma's family adds to her uncertainty about staging a big wedding for the gratification of others, when all she really wants is to BE married.
I love this series and its characters; the auth
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
May 04, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 23, 2014 Jaksen rated it it was ok
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
K. O'Brien
Jul 24, 2012 K. O'Brien rated it really liked it
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
Mary Ronan Drew
Aug 07, 2011 Mary Ronan Drew rated it really liked it
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
Nov 10, 2009 Leslie rated it liked it
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
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
Oct 23, 2014 Kyrie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
Sheila Beaumont
Mar 08, 2010 Sheila Beaumont rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 02, 2012 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
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
Jul 23, 2012 Mary rated it liked it
I've read quite a few of the books in this series by Deborah Crombie. Her mystery plots are great and really hold my attention. In this book, the murder involves an artist who has married outside her own race. Crombie handles that subject very well & I was able to easily empathize with those characters.

However, I just don't like her Gemma Duncan character very much. In this book, she comes off as rather selfish & petty, having a real attitude about working with men.

Oh well, the main sub
Jan 13, 2015 Lauren rated it it was ok
Shelves: c-library, w-library
Depressing with an obvious decision waiting at the end.

Gemma's savior-complex started to wear on me along with the constant mentions of how beautiful Charlotte was (thank god, amirite? eyeroll)

I was more interested in Melody's story than Gemma & Duncan.
Jun 29, 2016 Msjodi777 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, 2016, june-2016
Another excellent book by Deborah Crombie. This one has the added element of a most unusual wedding. The books in this series just keep getting better and better. <><
Lucy Burdette
May 16, 2012 Lucy Burdette rated it it was amazing
The language is lovely, the characters appealing, and the plot complex. Highly recommended.
Oct 05, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
A wonderful series.
Mara Pemberton
Dec 01, 2013 Mara Pemberton rated it it was amazing
One of my favorites in this series.
Jun 02, 2017 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-series
In Shoreditch an artist leaves Charlotte, her two year old daughter with a friend and disappears. Then her Asian husband is found murdered. Gemma works with the authorities to get Charlotte placed with her friend, a foster parent, in Notting Hill, but by then she and Charlotte have bonded. The investigation leads in many directions, within and without the immigrant community, and is the beginning of Duncan and Gemma's friendship with Louise, the executor of the estate.
Sharon Jacksack
I really wanted to love this book; I've loved others in the series. But I only liked it - too many characters, not enough motivations, and the villain's motivation came a little late in the game. So no aha! moments, more like Oh, okay. moments.
Jun 01, 2017 Mary rated it really liked it
Equal parts horror and joy in this installation which finds Gemma and Duncan planning their wedding while investigating the missing parents of a darling little girl.
An excellent example of the Gemma/Duncan series. I had missed this one and was delighted to have so many aspects of the backstory made clear. Not to mention a wonderful, if ghastly plot.
Richard Fursland
Jun 14, 2017 Richard Fursland rated it really liked it
As always with Crombie, solid plotting and characterization. The two 'leads' have stood the test of time well.
May 21, 2017 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Very enjoyable.
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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 17 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)

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