Killing Innocents

Crombie’s 19th Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James was worth waiting for, with The Killing of Innocents the new case that starts in a Bloomsbury pub.

Sitting with his DS, Doug Cullen, Duncan notices a young woman wearing scrubs, obviously waiting for someone who never arrives. She leaves, and he is shocked to be called shortly after to a murder scene. The victim is the young trainee doctor he’s just seen, stabbed to death in Russell Square.

With Gemma working on a task force on rising knife crimes, she and her DS, Melody Talbot, aid their investigation, Soon all the familiar characters are in force, and the case takes an unlikely turn with relationships to people Duncan and Gemma know.

At first glance, Sasha Johnson looks like an unlikely victim: career-driven, single, without any history that would connect her to crime. Digging deeper reveals her secrets, but did they lead to her murder?

Then a colleague of Sasha’s is found dead, and the teams scramble to find a connection other than their work site. Could they have a serial killer on their hands? It’s all hands on deck as the pieces are gathered to form a picture of a murderer working in plain sight.

One of the many delights of Crombie’s novels is the way she investigates her setting and brings it to life for readers. Another is her inclusion of the family travails of two working detectives. It all adds to the realistic atmosphere of everyday stresses that must be handled even while investigating a murder.

At its heart, this is a very fine mystery, peppered with human-like characters you’ll want to return to, set within a complex plot that will have readers scratching their heads along with the detectives until the stunning climax.