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Dreaming of the Bones (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #5)
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Dreaming of the Bones (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #5)

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  3,639 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Dr. Victoria McClellan, Cambridge feminist biographer, is writing a life of the talented but tortured poet Lydia Brooke, five years after Brooke's tragic suicide. As a student at Cambridge in the early sixties, Lydia emulated her namesake, the romantic Edwardian poet Rupert Brooke, who formed a nature-worshipping group called the Neo-Pagans. Now living in Grantchester, the ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by Bantam Books (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mary Ronan Drew
I hate to say this. I know authors hate it when people say this about their books. But it’s true: This is a crossover novel. It’s a mystery and the author perceives it as a mystery, which it is. But it’s so much more.

Deborah Crombie is the best of the contemporary writers of the police procedural. Her plots are complex without being convoluted, her writing style is clean and occasionally lyrical, and her characters are realistic and face their problems in a realistic way.

Here is Publisher’s We
...more
Bev Hankins
Just finished Deborah Crombie's Dreaming of the Bones. I am very surprised at how long this took me to finish. It is an absolutely beautiful and lyrical mystery novel...seamlessly written. Perhaps I was taking my time because I didn't want the experience to be over? I found it amazing that Crombie adapted her writing style to the subject matter...the re-opening of a poet's death. The entire book read like a very long prose poem and the poetry she constructed to weave into the story of Lydia was ...more
Matt Schiariti
during the first third of this book I found myself not liking it as much as the previous novels in the series. Why? Well there just wasn't that much Kinkaid/James in this Kinkaid/James mystery! I'm glad I stuck with it though because it ended up being very good and quite frankly one of Crombie's darker books.

Things are going as normal for Duncan and Gemma..they're both comfortable with their relationship, doing their normal workday routines as coppers in Scotland Yard when Duncan gets a call fro
...more
Margaret
I think this is the breakout book in this series. The earlier ones are good; this one is great, more complex of plot, and deeper in characterization, especially of the non-series characters.
Kirsty Darbyshire
these are excerpts from my responses to a mailing list discussion of this book and as such they include spoilers.

[On Lydia's letters and Vic's inklings of suicide]

I didn't like Lydia much and I really wanted to see her mother's side of all those letters! The letters all came from a period early on in Lydia's life and not the time close to her death. Vic's convictions seemed to be the biggest sign that Lydia was really murdered but I had mixed feelings about those.

It seemed reasonable that if s

...more
Anne Hawn Smith
Feb 14, 2010 Anne Hawn Smith rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans
Shelves: mystery, forensics
This is the first of this series that I have read and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I thought the characters well developed and the plot complex, but easy to follow. I also liked the setting and the way the plot moved between the past and present.

The only thing that is a problem is the relationship between Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. As colleagues, their relationship would have presented a problem and also the way they operated on vacation and in another jurisdiction. However, this is fiction and
...more
Susan Anderson
This is not a proper review, only my random thoughts as a reader having just finished Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie. In my mind, there's a difference between reader ramblings and book review. And also, I just finished listening to the unabridged audible version. I haven't actually cast my eyes upon the words. (That begs the question, "What is a book?" but the answer to that is a mighty one and for another day.)

You know, I really love Deborah Crombie's writing and DREAMING OF THE BONES
...more
Joan
A great story where solving the mystery introduces lots of other topics that may be of interest to readers. While reading this book, I discovered some of the poetry of Rupert Brooke and look forward to reading more. (but I digress...)

Dreaming of the Bones continues the story of two Scotland Yard detectives as they work unofficially to solve a case with close ties to Superintendent Duncan Kincaid. I haven't read any of the previous novels in this series, so I'm not sure if I'm missing a lot of d
...more
Sue
This next book in the Kincaid/Jones saga was not available from my local library service so I had to purchase a copy, which turned out to be an American publication, so I don't know if copyright problems affect its availability in the UK. I did try it as an audiobook, but iTunes turned it into an out-of-sequence jumble which was quite surreal to experience.

This time Duncan Kincaid is consulted by his ex-wife, Victoria Potts Kincaid McLellan, because she feels the poetess she is writing a biograp
...more
Stuart
I haven’t read Deborah Crombie before. She has some superficial similarities to Elizabeth George, being an American author writing British mysteries with an upper-class Scotland Yard detective (Kincaid) and his lower class sergeant (Jones). But while the genre is the same, the execution is different. Elizabeth George serves up heavy tomes full of lots of details; Crombie (on the basis of this story) serves up much simpler fare, though equally enjoyable. We do of course have the requisite detecti ...more
Tina
Feels like the series is hitting it's stride with this book. At first I wasn't sure I was enjoying it since it spent so much time with a woman who had been dead for five years. But the looks back in to Lydia's life proved important to her death (long believed to be a suicide) and to the death of Vic McLellan the woman who is writing her biography.

Vic also happens to be Duncan's ex wife who walked out on him 12 years ago without a word. She calls him out of the blue to ask his help in looking int
...more
LJ
First Sentence: The post slid through the letter box, cascading onto the tile floor of the entry hall with a sound like the wind rustling through bamboo.

Twelve years ago, Duncan Kincaid’s wife walked away from their marriage. Receiving a call, asking for his help was not something he expected. Victoria Kincaid McClellan, mother of Kit, and abandoned by her current husband, has a position with the English Faculty and is writing a biography on 20th Century poet Lydia Ashby who had, supposedly, die
...more
Patricia
This book is over the top! It is book #5 in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James English mystery series, and the plot is very intricate and multilayered. Once again, there are many twists and turns, and many interesting personalities. I especially appreciated viewing the lives of an ex-wife and an ex-husband (from two separate marriages). They were shown to be at least somewhat likable people and not "monsters" as sometimes people sometimes choose to view former spouses! The book is full of murders, s ...more
Susan Johnson
I really liked this addition to the Kincaid-James series. As each book comes along, the plots get a little more complex. This one involves Kincaid's ex-wife who asks him to invesitgate a death that occurred five years ago. The death involved a poet who's biography the ex-wife is now writing. There are lots of twists and turns and events happen that change the two protagnoist's lives forever. An excellent edition to this entertaining series.
Jenny
I started this about a week ago. I like it, tho again I had to write down the list of characters to help me keep track. So far it is not so much a police procedural/mystery, but a book about a woman writer, going through the emotional process of doing a biography of a recently (5 years ago) deceased woman poet. She starts to doubt that she actually killed herself, so she brings in her ex-husband, our guy Kincaid. Setting the situation and environment up, and building the characters who all knew ...more
Debra
It's no wonder this one received so many awards. Multi-layered suspense throughout. Am reading the entire series in order and am captivated. Visit "Stop, You're Killing Me! website for complete lists of mysteries and authors.
Phyllis
I enjoy reading Crombie's books. As the series develop so do Crombie's wrting skills. Great summer read.
Brenda Funk
Fast becoming my favourite author to have by my bedside for my daily dose of mystery-light-reading. She writes extremely well with interesting and highly developed characters, her plots are complex with lots of 'grey' (rather than black and white thinking). I love her habit of quoting famous writers and poets at the beginning of each chapter. To top it off, they are set in Britain, where all my favourite mystery series take place....well almost -- Louise Penney and Quebec are certainly also amon ...more
Gail
There were many things to like about this book. How well written it is. How multi layered the story is and how it slowly unfolds. What I didn't like. Vic, how she kept Kincaid from knowing he had a child and kept from Kit who his true father was. Just absolutely heartless and cruel. I didn't like that Vic didn't even know who the father was at first because she was sleeping with another man while married to Kincaid. I hated that it was explained away that the reason why she left Kincaid without ...more
Chad Bearden
I can't claim to be a fan of the British murder mystery, nor murder mysteries of any other nationality. I read my first Deborah Crombie novel back in the day because, like Ms. Crombie, I attended Austin College, and upon her returning to the campus for a discussion, I was tasked with writing an introduction for her speech. I'm nothing if not thorough, so in addition to researching her biography and writing credits, I felt it only just that I actually read some of her actual works. While not a li ...more
Abbey
BOTTOM LINE: #5 DI Duncan Kincaid/Sgt Gemma James, Oxford and rural England; cosy police procedural/professional as amateur sleuth. Duncan’s ex-wife calls him after twelve years’ silence, seeking professional information about a poet who may have been murdered five years ago. Duncan’s need to help his family, and the changes in his relationship with Gemma help make this a rich and intriguing mystery that’s at times heartbreakingly sad.

Duncan's wife is writing a biography of the poet - at least
...more
Terri Lynn
I just couldn't make myself like it though I tried hard. I have liked the previous books in this series very much but had to drag myself through this one forcibly. It felt like a punishment.

I like Gemma James a lot more than I like Duncan Kincaid and I found myself wishing she would dump him as a lover during this book and just be work partners the way they had been with no romance.

As this book begins, Gemma has become more comfortable with Duncan being both her boss at Scotland Yard and her
...more
Stephanie
I started reading Crombie out of order with "Now May You Weep" and really loved that one, so wanted to go back and read earlier ones. I consider myself a fan of the way she writes, but not always of the book as a whole. In this one, "Dreaming of the Bones", it was predictably slow, which I expect, because it is so "English". I've even gotten used to her writing unlikeable characters, but it makes it hard to get involved enough in the story. At one point, I counted at least eleven viable suspects ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Dreaming of the Bones, by Deborah Crombie, A. Borrowed from National Library Service for the Blind

This is the 5th in the Scotland Yard Inspector Kincade, and Sergeant Gemma James series. This book begins with Duncan getting an unexpected call from his ex-wife, Victoria, (Vic) who he hasn’t seen since their divorce 12 years ago. Vic left Duncan for another man, a professor in her own department, and she married him. Now these many years later, he has left her to move to France with a graduate stu
...more
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
When Duncan Kincaid's ex wife, Vic, contacts him out of the blue and asks him to meet her on her home ground in Cambridge, he is intrigued and goes there despite the fact he has now seen her since she left him without so much as a note, some twelve years before. Vic is working on a biography of Lydia Brooke, a poet who committed suicide 5 years earlier and she tells Duncan, she suspects Lydia was in fact murdered. He is naturally sceptical and yet does not doubt Vic sincerity and conviction, so ...more
Carolyn Hill
Four and a half stars. Deborah Crombie keeps getting better and better and I'm only up to 1997 reading the series in order. Wonderful characterization, intriguing layered plot, and lyrical writing. Detective Duncan Kincaid is personally involved in this case which makes it all the more powerful. Here he follows up on a request from his ex-wife Vic, a Cambridge literary scholar writing a biography of contemporary poet Lydia Brooke whose suicide left too many questions. Crombie enriches the story ...more
Pat
“Dreaming of the Bones” is considered one of the best novels in the Duncan/Gemma mystery series. Of the six that I have read, it proved to be my least favorite. While I applaud the plot and the incredible characterization, I had problems with the novel’s structure.
At the beginning of each chapter, a fragment of a poem by Rupert Brook is inserted, plausibly to give a perpetuating reminder of the poet’s influence upon the primary victim, Lydia Brooke. Lydia’s tragic obsession with Brooke’s lifest
...more
Bonnie
This multilayered tale combines the days before World War I, the permissiveness of students in the sixities, and academic Cambridge in the present. Ater being divorced for twelve years, Duncan receives a call from ex wife Victoria asking for his help in trying to prove poet lydia Brooke did not commit suicide. Dr. Victoria was writing a biography about Lydia and need Duncan's expert advice to prove she had not committed suicide. Duncan agrees and he and Gemma investigate and discover doubt that ...more
Patti
Deborah Crombie's writing is so very authentic to the British mystery, both village and town, that I become totally immersed in that world. My favorite authors are able to draw you in and make you truly care about what will happen in that world next and she has the gift. So far every book has been the best in a page-turning, keep you guessing way. I would definitely recommend her books to anyone who enjoys a great mystery with lovely little personal entanglements all along the way.
Melissa
3.5 Stars. This book was exhausting. Twists, turns, past, present, etc. I enjoy the series but this is my least favorite so far. There's a surprise and it bugged me. I can see the point, create future tension for Gemma and Duncan's relationship down the line but sometimes as a reader I just want to say, can't solving crimes together and sleeping together create enough problems with out these other plot twists?
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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...
A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #1) Necessary as Blood No Mark Upon Her (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #14) Where Memories Lie (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #12) All Shall Be Well (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #2)

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