Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #17

Garden of Lamentations

Rate this book
Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are drawn into separate investigations that hold disturbing—and deadly—complications for their own lives in this powerful mystery in the bestselling series.

On a beautiful morning in mid-May, the body of a young woman is found in one of Notting Hill’s private gardens. To passersby, the pretty girl in the white dress looks as if she’s sleeping. But Reagan Keating has been murdered, and the lead detective, DI Kerry Boatman, turns to Gemma James for help. She and Gemma worked together on a previous investigation, and Gemma has a personal connection to the case: Reagan was the nanny of a child who attends the same dance studio as Toby, Gemma and Kincaid’s son.

Gemma soon discovers that Reagan’s death is the second tragedy in this exclusive London park; a few months before, a young boy died in a tragic accident. But when still another of the garden residents meets a violent end, it becomes clear that there are more sinister forces at play. Boatman and Gemma must stop the killer before another innocent life is taken.

While his wife is consumed with her new case, Kincaid finds himself plagued by disturbing questions about several previous—and seemingly unrelated—cases involving members of the force. If his suspicions are correct and the crimes are linked, are his family and friends in mortal danger as well? Kincaid’s hunch turns to certainty when a Metropolitan Police officer close to him is brutally attacked. There’s a traitor in the ranks, and now Kincaid wonders if he can trust anyone.

As Gemma begins to see a solution to her case, she realizes she holds a child’s fate in her hands. Can she do the right thing? And can Kincaid rely on his friends, both inside and outside the Scotland Yard force, to stand beside him as he faces the deadliest challenge of his career?

415 pages, Hardcover

First published February 7, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Deborah Crombie

65 books2,224 followers
Deborah Crombie is the author of 17 novels featuring Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Detective Inspector Gemma James. The 18th Kincaid/James novel, A BITTER FEAST, will be released by William Morrow in October, 2019.

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

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,878 (32%)
4 stars
2,793 (47%)
3 stars
1,011 (17%)
2 stars
144 (2%)
1 star
32 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 720 reviews
Profile Image for Julie .
4,027 reviews58.9k followers
July 10, 2020
Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie is a 2017 William Morrow publication.

Another strong, gripping installment in the Kincaid and James series!

This seventeenth installment is very involved and busy. Gemma is asked to help solve the murder of a young nanny found in the exclusive London Park. In the course of their investigation, they uncover even more deaths in the area, one of them, a child.

Meanwhile, Duncan is drawn ever deeper into the cases he thinks are related, which involve members of the force. When a Metropolitan police officer is attacked, Duncan is now positive there is a rat in their midst, and he doesn’t know who he can trust.

The situation has Duncan spiraling down a dark path as his alcohol intake increases and his secrets from Gemma begin driving a wedge between them.

If you haven’t been faithfully reading this series in order, you might want to make sure you have read the two previous chapters in this series before tackling this one. There are many references to events in the last book and because there is so much going on it could be quite confusing if you aren’t familiar with what has transpired up to this point.

For the first time we see Gemma and Duncan hit a serious and worrisome rough patch in their relationship and each of the recurring characters are individually haunted – both professionally and personally.

Both cases are suspenseful and compelling, although the overall tone of this installment was different from any before it, in my opinion. While we love Gemma and Duncan’s teamwork, the relatively mild moments of doubt and the insecurities they encounter, has never truly put their relationship to the test. It was realistic to expect them to face relationship bumps, and to show their humanity and flaws.

Overall, this was another excellent episode in the series, and it wraps up a few threads and opens the series up for deeper connections with the characters and for stronger bonds between Gemma and Duncan and their friends and colleagues.

While I’m looking forward to the next chapter in the series, I’m going to wait a little while before reading it. It’s the only one I have left to read before I’m all caught up, and then I’ll have to start waiting for the next release like everyone else. It’s been rewarding to read the series from start to finish. It has grown stronger and stronger over time and has become one of my favorite British mystery series!

4 stars
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,736 reviews14.1k followers
February 7, 2017
Like a visit to catch up with old friends, that is how I feel about the Kincaid and James series. Both detectives, married to each other, children, pets working out of different stations and not enough time in a day. Been there, done that but my commitments don't include solving a murder or dealing with corruption in the Met. Gemma becomes embroiled in Tue suspicious death of a young nanny, found in a communal though locked garden. Kincaid, takes off from the last book. Now transferred but still questioning the death of a friend from the last case. Before end of book, he will have many more questions and suspicions.

A tightly plotted book, a perfect combination of family and mystery, characters and police procedural. The secondary cast I have come to know and like as well. This is such a fantastic series, I always look forward to the next.

ARC from William Morrow publishers
Releases February 7th.

Profile Image for Barbara.
1,345 reviews4,865 followers
November 5, 2021

In this 17th book in the 'Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James' series, the police detectives tackle separate cases. The book can be read as a standalone, but familiarity with the series is a plus.


Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Detective Inspector Gemma James are married and raising their blended family - three children, two kittens, and a dog - in a house in the suburbs. The detectives no longer work in the same police department and become involved in separate cases.

Gemma investigates the death of a pretty young nanny, Reagan Keating, whose body is found in a private garden shared by a group of houses.

At first the nanny's death appears to be an accidental overdose, but the police soon discover she was murdered. The nanny worked in one of the neighborhood homes, looking after an 11-year-old boy and modeling for a tasteful clothing catalogue put out by his parents.

The crime isn't in Gemma's jurisdiction, but DI Kerry Boatman 'borrows' her for the inquiry because Gemma knows some of the local residents.

Kerry and Gemma question Reagan's boyfriend, friends, neighbors, employers, and so on - and everyone seems to like the amiable young woman. Thus the detectives are hard-pressed to find a motive for the killing.

Then the sleuths hear some scuttlebutt about Reagan seeing 'another man' and learn that the parents of a local boy who died from an asthma attack blame Reagan. These discoveries lead to new areas of investigation, and - after a few twists and surprises - the crime is solved.

Duncan's case is much more complex. His former boss, Chief Superintendent Denis Childs, returns from a long leave of absence and arranges a secret meeting with Duncan.

Childs alludes to a criminal conspiracy among bigwigs in the Metropolitan Police Service and warns Duncan to keep his distance.....for his own safety. Right after the meeting Childs is viciously attacked and falls into a coma.

Duncan already knows something is rotten in Scotland Yard. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Angus Craig was recently exposed as a rapist and murderer, after which he allegedly killed his wife and himself. And - after a bombing at London's St. Pancras Station - another detective supposedly committed suicide.

Duncan believes all these deaths were murders, and proceeds to investigate. Fearing for the safety of his wife and children, Duncan doesn't confide in Gemma - and the Superintendent's absences from home and secretiveness put a strain on the marriage.

Duncan's current inquiries alternate with flashbacks to the past, when a group of Scotland Yard detectives were recruited to do undercover work for Britain's Special Branch (intelligence service). The 'cop spies' were tasked with infiltrating protest groups that might become troublemakers. However, this wasn't all on the up and up. One undercover cop was pressured to sabotage a group that was protesting the death-by-police of an innocent black man.

And the killing of a female undercover agent - probably by the hand of a colleague - was swept under the rug. Clearly, something was rotten in the police service. (All this reminds me a bit of the 2017 American TV series "Shots Fired.")

The author cleverly melds Duncan's present day inquiries with the Special Branch storyline, and corrupt individuals are exposed. Some shocking revelations here!

Regular characters in the series make an appearance, including Gemma's co-worker Melody Talbot - who's now dating a rock star; and Detective Doug Cullen - who helps Duncan with his investigation. The Kincaid children are also on hand: teenage Kit (who cooks and helps keep the family organized); seven-year-old Toby (who's taking ballet lessons); and three-year-old Charlotte (who's sweet and clingy). And the pets are very cute.

One problem I had with the book is the surfeit of secondary characters. Gemma's case involves all the people who live in homes around the garden; some of their business acquaintances; Reagan's friends and acquaintances; children in the neighborhood; etc. And Duncan's inquiries include a large array of cops and supervisors, and some of their wives. With two storylines containing separate sets of characters, it's sometimes hard to remember who's who. 😏

Still, this is a good addition to the series, recommended to mystery fans.

You can follow my reviews at: https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Maureen Carden.
280 reviews70 followers
November 27, 2017
I love being in Duncan Gemma World. I've been along for the ride almost since the beginning. It's always sweet to see how the children have grown, what new pets they have acquired, and what their loyal friends have been up to.
This outing has been a bit different. Rare times with the children, and except for Mackenzie, almost no reference to their friends. This time two mysteries claim center stage and keep it. Gemma is investigating the murder of a young nanny found in one of London's private gardens; while Duncan, secretive, absent, and worried has ramped up his solo investigation into corruption at the Met. What Duncan's old boss, DCS Denis Childs has done to Duncan, he has turned around and done to Gemma, Doug and Melody, keeping them distant and in the dark. This does not bode well for any of Duncan's relationships. So often instead of mentally shouting, "Don't go in the basement" I am shouting, "Just tell them!"
Duncan's investigation now encompasses an extremely serious attack on DCS Childs. With tendrils reaching out from the past, Duncan doesn't know who he can trust. Those he can trust he wants to keep safe.
Gemma's investigation is one she should not be involved in. Mackenzie's husband uses his influence to basically shanghai Gemma into this investigation that has ramifications for their rarified social world and the children living within .
I subtracted a star for three reasons. The love is there, but I miss the romance. The first time Gemma and Duncan were together sticks with me all these years later. Now the only romantic scene I can recall is Gemma dancing with the busker several books back.
My second complaint is when there is a cell phone missing it can be tracked. Lets face it, all of us with cell phones are wearing personal trackers.
My biggest complaint, for the love of all that is holy please do NOT tell me the Met, even for pure intel operations encourages sexual relationships with targets. Can you imagine how that would go over for a police officer to testify, "Well yes, I did have sex with so and so, but I'm sure that didn't influence him committing the crime." ? With intel, how could you then trust your UC?
This book was worth the long wait. The mysteries are compelling, with Duncan's providing a satisfactory end to a long running story line. I always recommend reading the previous books just for the pleasure, but Crombie deftly sums up the threads from the other books making it easy for the readers to understand Duncan's investigation. As always, I've enjoyed being invited into the James-Kincaid household.
Profile Image for Leslie Ray.
175 reviews95 followers
August 5, 2020
This is the first I've read of this series and didn't realize that this was #17 until I looked closer. Probably reading some of the earlier books in the series would help with some back history and some of the dynamics, but aren't really needed.
There are 2 mysteries going subsequently: one is Gemma's investigation of a murdered governess in a community garden and the second is Duncan's investigation of the attempted murder of his former boss and the continuation of his personal investigation into a former colleague.
This is obviously an excellent series and one that I plan to continue. The plots are detailed and intricate without getting the reader bogged down. It was a good detective procedural, of which seem to be getting harder to come by lately.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
783 reviews167 followers
January 9, 2017
Garden of Lamentations is the seventeenth book in Crombie's long-standing series. Fans of the series wont want to miss the latest books; however, as a fan, I will admit to feeling less excited about this addition to the series.

What I did like about Lamentations is that it brings readers back to characters that are familiar and propels the series forward with Duncan's investigation into potential corruption in the Scotland Yard. The previous book did touch upon this, but in Lamentations this is taken further. Parallel to Duncan's unsanctioned detective work is Gemma's investigation into the murder of a nanny of which their is a connection to a friend of the family. The fact that there are two mysteries running in the is not generally something that would be a detraction, yet in the case here, I felt that it brought the two leads further apart. A big part of the draw of this series is how Duncan and Gemma work together and it feels like it's been so long since these two have actually worked together on a case. The fact that Duncan and Gemma were working two very different cases and practically didn't interact throughout the book was rather a disappointment to me. I love that the series has grown to incorporate other characters like Doug, Melody, Hazel and so on, but the core characters and their own family could have used more page time.

Garden of Lamentations is a solid addition to the series and it shifts the mysteries from random crimes to ones that are intrinsic to the police work that Duncan and Gemma do. The focus on police corruption is interesting and will appeal to fans of Louise Penny's latest, A Great Reckoning. Luckily the investigation into Scotland Yard is not wrapped in Lamentations leaving readers looking forward to more in this series.
Profile Image for Ellen.
1,728 reviews7 followers
November 13, 2016
Other than Louise Penny, Deborah Crombie is my favorite mystery writer. Her Gemma and Duncan Kincaid series continues to develop he personalities of the main characters as well as the supporting characters, including Doug, Melody, Hazel and more. Gemma gets involved in solving a murder, while Duncan appears preoccupied and secretive. His situation involves the danger involved with outing dirty cops involved in a series of murders. Great read!
Profile Image for Julie  Durnell.
1,011 reviews97 followers
December 9, 2021
This was a character filled book, with both Gemma & Duncan involved in their own investigations. I really enjoy this series, it's very well written, and I love the endpaper maps for each book detailing the locations mentioned in the story. I just wish I had read this one closer to the previous book as it carried over quite a bit.
Profile Image for Michele.
486 reviews
February 15, 2017
I enjoyed this but I am really, really glad that (please, pretty please) we are done with Duncan and the corruption in the Met. If I remember correctly that story arc goes back two books and threatened to ruin this series for me. It just wasn't believable and took away from the real enjoyment here which is Duncan, Gemma, their kids, their families, Melody and Doug and a little mystery thrown in for good measure. I have my fingers crossed that Ms. Crombie will remember that for book #18.
Profile Image for DJ Sakata.
3,036 reviews1,747 followers
November 27, 2017
Favorite Quotes:

Pathologists are insatiably curious. That’s why we do it, most of us. Although maybe there are some who just like really bad smells and have no people skills.

Don’t say you don’t want to speak ill of the dead. The dead are dead and it won’t hurt them.

Lisa Su, Gemma decided, might have been pretty if not for what seemed a perpetually angry expression. Her eyes protruded slightly, as if pushed out from the pressure within.

My Review:

I was stunned when I noticed I was reading an author for the first while picking up book number seventeen in a series. I had not contemplated such a vast amount of books in one series since my Nancy Drew years. While I am certain I would have had an easier time beginning the tale had I read the previous books, prior experience was not necessary as the story was more than steady on strong dancers legs and quite capable to stand-alone. The plot was complex, ingenious, and brilliantly crafted. Ms. Crombie must be wicked smart and at least a tad twisted to have such a profound facility for evil genius lurking about her headspace. I doubt her neighbors ever fully relax or dare to disturb her peace. Her writing was hypnotic, packed with peculiar and intriguing characters, and densely detailed with a treasure trove of fascinating and multi-faceted story threads knitting themselves into vivid imagery. I covet her mad skills.
Profile Image for Kyla Zerbes.
337 reviews
March 7, 2017
Not the best of these novels. Both detectives have separate cases going on and barely speak to one another throughout the whole novel, despite living in the same house. All I can say is that this really exemplifies what working women go through vs working men. Gemma is saddled with 90% of the child minding and chores while also having a FT job. That Duncan was trying to protect the family doesn't really make a great excuse and I found it hard to believe that the conspiracy was so all consuming that he kept forgetting to check on his father after his hospital stay. He seemed to care more about his ex-boss.
The pacing was also a little weird. The book was dragging and then suddenly was over.
Profile Image for Mal Warwick.
Author 29 books404 followers
April 6, 2017
Let me see if I’ve got this straight. There are lots of cops in Deborah Crombie’s latest detective novel, Garden of Lamentations. Six of them, for starters. Co-protagonists Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Detective Inspector Gemma James are married. They’ve been reassigned from New Scotland Yard to separate precincts elsewhere in London. The pair have an adopted teenage boy, a 3-year-old foster daughter, and an even younger boy of their own. In addition to Kincaid and James, there are two lower-ranked officers, Doug Cullen and Melody Talbot. Melody’s father is Ivan Talbot, a London press lord, but she’s keeping that a secret. Then there’s Kincaid’s “guvnor,” Detective Chief Superintendent Denis Childs, who has been mysteriously missing for several months. Oh, and Ryan Marsh, also a police officer, had died in some unstated way three months earlier after he and Talbot rushed into a fire started by a grenade tossed into a crowd. Oh, yes, and Kincaid and James’ friends, Hazel and Tim, also figure in the story. The pair had been involved in an earlier case in Scotland, where Hazel had moved to manage the family’s distillery. I think that’s the gist of it. It took me quite a while to figure all this out.

In other words, it would pay to have read the preceding novels in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series. This is the 17th. I’d read many of the others, but too long ago to remember so many details.

If you understand all those things, you’re good to go. As Garden of Lamentations opens, a young nanny is murdered, Denis Childs is assaulted and left for dead after hinting at police corruption, and Kincaid and Talbot are still puzzling over the death of Ryan Marsh. The story that unfolds is engrossing and suspenseful. You’ll find yourself caught up in a tale that involves corruption at Scotland Yard, undercover police, a locked-garden murder mystery, and the travails of a complicated family with two parents holding professional jobs.
Profile Image for Mojo Shivers.
351 reviews6 followers
October 25, 2020
By far this was the most serialized installment in the series. Concluding the Special Branch mystery that has been featured in the background of the last several books, this provided the much-needed answers as to who was corrupt at the Met, what the corruption entailed, and who the nefarious mastermind was. Also, I have to say the tying of all the loose threads concerning this storyline was handled deftly. I very much felt the conclusion made sense and all parties involved played relevant roles that befit the character.

As for the other mystery, which for once got relegated to the B plot, it was good as well. I’m only sorry that Gemma got saddled with it and was therefore exempted from the much more interesting corruption plot. It also felt out of character for Duncan to leave his wife in the dark for so long. For much of the book it felt out of character for Duncan not to go straight to her with every development. I understand why it was done, to keep up the two mysteries a book format but it didn’t feel as integrated seamlessly as it could have been.

Here’s hoping the next book sees the couple back on track in terms of presenting a united front and being the definition of an equal partnership.
Profile Image for Kim.
1,221 reviews85 followers
February 16, 2017
Tough review to write. I used to love this series and Duncan (Kincaid) and Gemma were some of my favorite fictional characters. Ever since they got more and more kids added to their plate... the stories have suffered.

This latest story shows the rift between Kincaid and Gemma growing larger due to their home life and workloads but luckily in the end things work out ok for them. What were we expecting? Crombie would never split these two up.

In my opinion the story would have been better without the underlying 1993/94 story stuck inside, just references would have been fine. Unfortunately Gemma's side of the "mystery of the month" was way too easy to figure out whodunnit. Kincaid's story was much more juicy here.

I finished it, but I wasn't happy while reading it. Kind of a forced reading. I'll probably read the next one but maybe by the time it comes out in 2021 or whatever I will have already forgotten about the series.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
109 reviews7 followers
January 10, 2018
I am a huge Deborah Crombie fan and was thrilled to receive this paperback in a goodreads giveaway just as I was about to purchase it! Duncan Kinkaid and Gemma James’ 17th book in this series is a continuation of the disturbing police corruption and murder story laid out in To Dwell in Darkness. We jave the solution to so many of the puzzling actions and deaths in the prior book and, perhaps, the root of all that evil. As always, the atmospere is rendered in a way that takes me there- this time to one of the interior garden squares (think Notting Hill) and those intertwined communities. The supporting characters all have their roles as do the children, cats and dogs. These are police procedurals with plenty of procedure but also filled with the lives of the humans involved. Read this series if you haven’t but don’t start here or you will be lost. Love Crombie’s plotting and her descriptions of place and relationships.
Profile Image for Una Tiers.
Author 6 books376 followers
July 31, 2017
This goes to my could not finish. The start was a little confusing, then the pace picked up, but then it fell flat again. Not for me but others may enjoy.
Only partly read one time.
Profile Image for Asheley T..
1,309 reviews118 followers
October 19, 2019
I started this series with Garden of Lamentations, which is the 17th installment. I was so nervous to do this, since I usually only start with the first book in the series, but I am really enjoying British mysteries and crime stories these days, so I figured why not? Ultimately I’m glad that I took this leap; I liked this one enough that I want to go back and start from the beginning.

Gemma and Kincaid obviously have an extensive history since this series is named after the both of them: the Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James Series. By this time in the series, the two are married with a young child, Charlotte, that they are parenting after her biological parents were killed, presumably in an earlier installment in this series. In Garden of Lamentations, Gemma is investigating the death of a young girl found in a garden in a Notting Hill neighborhood and Kincaid is investigating corruption in the police division, which leads him down a trail of attacks and past murders.

If I am being honest, I have to admit that I expected these two to cross paths with their work more than they did. I was surprised that their cases were two almost-independent storylines. The story read (to me) like two married people with similar jobs who are both working, but on different cases. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this – it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I loved that throughout the story, while there was the police procedure and investigation going on, there was also the relationship between Kincaid and Gemma. Their marriage and personal lives sort of hovered over the story. I personally tend to love the domestic, private side of fictional detectives’ lives and how their lives intersect their investigations, so I enjoyed it very much when I got glimpses into the inner workings of their family.

I loved getting to know these characters and their network of friends and coworkers. This book has a remarkably British feel to it, down to the verbage and the setting. I absolutely love that. There is an amazing map in the front of the book that I put to good use. I found the story – especially Gemma’s portion of the story – easy to visualize as I followed the clues along with her, tracking down the young girl’s killer. I was thrilled that I did not suspect nor figure out the whodunnit in either case – Gemma’s nor Kincaid’s – which kept me on my toes throughout the entire story and made the reading consistently interesting for me.

Of note: There are tons of references to what I can only assume are things from earlier books – things like earlier investigations, past relationships, friends or coworkers that have died in installments prior to this one, and so forth. While I was able to pick this book up and follow along easily enough, there were plenty of “past things” in the story that I wish I could have known more about. For example, it is mentioned in the story about Charlotte not being the biological child of Gemma and Kincaid and that’s okay, but it makes me fidgety about how much I don’t know about the backstory. In addition, in the previous book, there was a deadly bombing that some of these characters are still adjusting to emotionally. As a new reader to this series, I didn’t know much about this and had to do a little bit of backwards research because it was referenced multiple times. Again, none of these things affected how much I enjoyed Garden of Lamentations, but I am itching to go ahead and start back at the beginning as soon as possible because I feel like there are so many of the pieces of this puzzle missing and it drives me a little crazy.

I’m honestly not sure if this is the end of the series or not, since I’m new to Gemma and Kincaid and their world. I hope not. Now that I’m here and I’ve looked around a little bit, I want more. It seems that these two detectives have a very loyal fanbase. I think Garden of Lamentations is a solid story with great characters and a fabulous London setting, and I’m so thrilled to have found a new author and series to dive into.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you, William Morrow Books!

Find this review and more like it on my blog, Into the Hall of Books!
Profile Image for Audrey.
1,596 reviews58 followers
March 2, 2017
I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if there weren't so many racist undertones running throughout the book. Which is ironic since a main flashback was from a true incident that occurred in 1993, where a young black man was murdered during a racially motivated attack.

What Crombie does extremely well is depicting Duncan and Gemma's relationship and how it evolved. These two, in the past, have worked well together, both personally and professionally. And, Crombie shows, that even the strongest relationships can have bumps when the lines of communication aren't open. And, she illustrated this through two different mysteries (one for Gemma and one for Duncan) and how each gets caught up with their work and the drudgeries of daily life can cause these communication problems. But, it's also that Duncan was a giant prat in this book.

The biggest plot problem is that much of much of Duncan's mystery occurred 2-3 books ago, so almost 5 years in our reader time. I read each book as it comes out. So unless one is binge reading, I don't know how a reader is supposed to remember facts and cases from 2-3 books ago. Towards the end of this book, it starts to come together, but it's a lot of confusion until that point.

Now, the part that completely annoyed me. Somehow, it seems to be socially acceptable to make Asians unsavory, unpleasant and the flawed characters. And, people don't write about it, there isn't any outrage and I'm not even sure that readers noticed it because it seems to be ingrained subtly through various media sources. But, this book, like Leigh Bardugo's Crooked Kingdom, was blatant and I haven't read any social commentary about either.

Slight spoilers here: There are 3 people of Chinese descent in this book. All three were the ones cast in a negative light. A boy who died before the book started was the bully. His father, was angry, menacing and dangerous (and to make it worse, Gemma thought that the couple were both Chinese and was surprised that the wife was white. Even worse, Gemma wasn't expecting him to be good looking. What, she should that he would be a stereotypical geeky Asian guy?). Lastly, the M.E. of Chinese descent also did a bad post mortem report. That's not even getting to some of the minor characters who aren't white, including Duncan's DS Sidana (who I think is of Indian descent) is described as competent but prickly and resentful bc she should have been promoted.

This book left such a bad taste in my mouth. Given that most of the characters are white, why is it the non Whites given such negative characteristics. Yes, not every white person in this book is a "good" guy, but most of the Asians are depicted in a negative way. I'm wondering if Crombie is even aware of how she is writing these characters. At best, it's distasteful, at worst, well, I'll let someone else fill in the blank.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,660 reviews26 followers
November 21, 2018
There were a lot of moving parts in this novel and I was at a slight disadvantage as I hadn't read Kincaid and James #16. Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are police detectives in London. They have three children ranging in age from toddler to teen. They live in Notting Hill (somehow I missed how they came to live in this very upscale neighborhood on police salaries) which puts them in touch with the more privileged segment of England. A neighbor's nanny is found dead in one of the neighborhood's private gardens, known as London's Squares (Crombie provides a history as an appendix to the book which I greatly appreciated). Gemma gets pulled into the investigation of this death. In the meantime, Kincaid, who is still miffed over his transfer out of Scotland Yard, is asked by his former "boss" to meet. He spends the book investigating a colleagues death and is pulled into uncovering a vast conspiracy within Scotland Yard as he investigates the death of a fellow officer, and goes on to investigate other unexplained deaths judged suicides in the police force.
This is another great installment in the series. I gave it 4 stars because I sometimes found it difficult to keep track of so many moving parts.
Crombie is a Texan, but nonetheless she does a great job in this series. Brits may immediately recognize that she is not a "native". I generally avoid novels written by outsiders that depend on creating the feel and sense of a place, country and culture that they do not know deeply. Crombie's series is exception for my rule.
Profile Image for Cindy Rollins.
Author 22 books2,018 followers
December 27, 2017
This is one of my favorite modern series of books. I love the characters, the storylines, and the way Deborah Crombie sprinkles London
road names and places throughout. I like to pause and look at a map while reading and there is usually a delightful one in the front of the book. Now that I have been to many of the streets of London mentioned I am even more delighted. This was a wonderful trip with old friends back to London.
Profile Image for Sarah.
799 reviews
April 5, 2017
I listened to the audiobook and it was a truly fabulous experience, well paced and exquisitely narrated, as usual, by Gerard Doyle. For me, the best thing about a really good book, in print or audio format, is when you can actually picture the scenes unfold in your mind's eye. And this happens to me a lot when I'm reading or re-reading this series.

For anyone who hasn't followed Gemma James, Duncan Kincaid and their family and friends from the start, be warned: this is not really a standalone novel. The author does explain past cases that are referred to in the story (and let's be honest, we all need a reminder!), but it seems to me that it would be more coherent reading the series in order.

Deborah Crombie and Louise Penny are definitely my favourite contemporary crime writers. I can't get enough of them... which is why I am very concerned, like you Claude, that this #17 in the series feels like a concluding novel. No loose ends in the final chapter. Oh no! Please don't let us down Ms Crombie!
Profile Image for Lynn.
1,832 reviews42 followers
March 31, 2017
Garden of Lamentations is the 17th book in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series. That's quite an accomplishment. The two are married police officers posted to different stations. There is a continuation of a story line from the previous outing which involves Duncan becoming increasingly suspicious of police corruption. Gemma is investigating the murder of a nanny in a posh part of London. I enjoyed this book although the police corruption angle is not my favourite plot thread. This is a solid police procedural series which has never let me down. Deborah Crombie is an American, but she plants the reader firmly in London and environs. Definitely recommended for readers who are intrigued by police procedurals and/or British mysteries.
Profile Image for Patty.
1,601 reviews86 followers
October 12, 2016
Garden Of Lamentations
Deborah Crombie

This book is in a series that I have read and loved for years. It involves Kincaid and Gemma and all of their children and animals! It's a mixed family that only grows closer and closer the longer they are together. Gemma has her own forensic issues to solve...a murder of a young nanny...while Kincaid is working on finding rotten apples in the department. The book is intense and really good. Readers who love this kind of book should love this one!

They are always beautifully written. They are always intense. They are always a delight to read.

Profile Image for Claude.
443 reviews8 followers
March 30, 2017
It may look like it took me forever to read this book, but it is only because I added almost a month ago and then read it or rather listened to it in two days when I actually started listening. I might consider reading the whole series again, as I have enjoyed those books so much. First I rated it four stars and for the sheer pleasure this book gave me, I added the fifth star.
I just wish it didn't take Ms Crombie such a long time to write her next novel. I do hope this wasn't the last one in the series. The last few sentences sounded ambiguous.
Profile Image for Cynthia Sillitoe.
580 reviews13 followers
March 26, 2017
I was so frustrated with this one, that I went back and reread from Necessary as Blood, and that helped because I could remember all the connections. I thought the main mystery was excellent and the weakness in this book was that Duncan and Gemma are on such separate paths. Also, I worry that Deborah Crombie will do an Elizabeth George and retire main characters to focus on new ones like Melody, Doug, and Jasmine Sidana. I like all three, but I read this series for Duncan and Gemma.
206 reviews
February 18, 2017
Deborah Crombie never disappoints! Great to see her carry story lines over more than one book.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,164 reviews34 followers
January 2, 2020
Gemma at the request of the investigating officer works outside her own beat on a case in which a nanny is found murdered in a garden. She became involved because her good friend was a friend of the woman employing the nanny. This leaves Melody in charge at their precinct. When Chief Supt. Dennis Childs is critically injured following a meeting with Duncan in which he told Duncan the reason he transferred him before going to Singapore for medical treatment was to keep him safe, Duncan begins to piece together events of the last few investigations. He isn't certain who he can trust so he keeps much to himself until he needs Doug's assistance. He fears he could be a target. Gemma feels Duncan is shutting her out as he tries to protect her and their children by keeping the investigation quiet. Duncan, with the help of Doug and Melody, slowly pieces together the corruption case, but they must figure out how to blow it open without ending up as victims. Both threads would make excellent separate installments. The two together is almost too much of a good thing. I listened to the audio version read by Gerard Doyle.
Profile Image for Niki.
529 reviews14 followers
November 28, 2018
this one is worth 4 stars given the excellent two enquiries that were made = the one for gemma james about a young woman's murder (I decided on the culprit from the start and i was right) - the other is a follow-up on the previous book, about some shady people at the Met and the obvious danger Kincaid and his family and friends might be in, but duncan kincaid is not a man turning is back on danger - something was definitely rotten in the Met, and kincaid wanted to go to the bottom of this
Displaying 1 - 30 of 720 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.