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A Finer End    by Deborah Crombie order for
Finer End
by Deborah Crombie
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by G. Hall

This is the seventh book in the series featuring the London police team of Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. Crombie writes in the best tradition of P.D. James and Elizabeth George with an excellent balance of character, plot and setting. One of the pleasures of this particular series has been in watching the evolution of the relationship between Kincaid and James who are now both professional and personal partners. Although a reader who is new to Crombie's books can enjoy this one on its own, she/he will soon want to read the six earlier episodes.

A Finer End is set in Glastonbury, England, which is dominated by a medieval abbey and by the more recent presence of New Age followers. The story centers around Kincaid's cousin, architect Jack Montfort. As the book starts, Montfort begins to experience automatic writing, which appears to be transmitted from an eleventh century monk at the abbey. As the story develops, Crombie introduces a very interesting cast of characters, who all become involved with Montfort and his search to understand what is happening to him. Kincaid and James are called in when Montfort's lady friend is injured in a suspicious accident and then someone else is murdered.

Crombie is a master at developing memorable characters and interweaving their complex psychological and emotional relationships. The ambience of Glastonbury is depicted well as is the suspense leading up to the story's climax. If this book is not quite as good as the author's Dreaming of the Bones, a New York Times Notable book of the year, it is still a very rewarding read. Crombie never disappoints and her venture into the supernatural this time is an interesting new direction.

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