We had a terrific time talking with Deb Crombie over Skype. After a few technical difficulties (including Deb hand-holding her phone to keep her in view for everyone!) we got into her journey as a writer of this outstanding series. Like most of her American readers, we were curious about the fact that a native Texan chose to have British protagonists, and set the series in the UK. Deb explained that she has always been a fan of the classic British mysteries, and had the opportunity to visit there – and come away with a Scottish husband! While they are now divorced, that lay the groundwork for her inside knowledge of current British culture. Deb splits her time between the UK and Texas, and loves being in both places. We felt that this has been a benefit to her American readers as she’s very aware of what British slang, locations, etc. might need extra definition or an American sensibility to keep US readers engaged in the stories.
We liked getting introduced to Kincaid, and want to read the other books and get to know both he and Gemma better. Deb told us we’d learn more about Gemma in the succeeding books as well. More of the focus in this book was on Kincaid. We appreciated how this first book shows him just after getting a big promotion – and how that worked both for and against him, particularly with the local constabulary.
Members talked about the characters specific to this story, and how these characters engaged them further. We particularly liked the way Deb handled the young teenage girl and her friendship with the murdered man. And while we were not fond of Cassie (or supposed to be!) we liked the fact that there were mitigating circumstances for some of her behavior, which made her more real. Members spoke about the twists in Hannah’s relationships in particular, and how skillfully the author led them astray in figuring out one of the key associations that was critical to solving the mystery.
We really enjoyed Deb’s sense of humor and willingness to talk about anything we could come up with. She even gave us a video introduction to one of her dogs, and panned her beautiful office area so we fans of craftsman styling could enjoy seeing part of her bungalow! Naturally, we are thanking her with chocolates and our signature “Thank You” coroner’s toe-tag.