4 star

Garden of Lamentations

Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James Mystery, Book #17

By Deborah Crombie

ISBN# 9780062271631

Author’s website:

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele




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’s 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.


Garden of Lamentations, the seventeenth book in the long running British Detective series by Deborah Crombie, is fabulously twisty and complex, full of realistic, beautifully developed characters, murder, and corruption.

It is always a pleasure to spend time with Detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, and Garden of Lamentations, coming several years after the publication of the last book To Dwell in Darkness, is well worth the wait.  Picking up shortly after the events in Darkness, Duncan is still dealing with death of one of his fellow officers and his demotion and subsequent breakup of his team.  When his former Chief Superintendent Childs reaches out to him to meet, and is subsequently attacked, Duncan cannot help but launch his own unsanctioned investigation.  Too many things have happened with too many of his coworkers to ignore, and he does not know who he can trust.  His wife, Gemma, is brought in on a separate case that is not even her jurisdiction as a favor to her friend.  Nanny and model Reagan Keating’s death initially appears to be an overdose or suicide, but the evidence quickly reveals foul play.  Found in a private residential garden, the number of suspects is greatly limited yet there is plenty of suspicious goings on within this small group of neighbors.

Crombie does a skillful job of balancing the two separate investigations.  They are each tense, interesting, and well executed.  Gemma’s murder investigation is somewhat simpler, and easier to figure out whodunit pretty early on, but the unfolding of WHY kept me guessing.  Duncan’s inquiry leads him far into Scotland Yard’s past and present.  This corruption investigation takes readers on a nerve-racking ride, and I, like Duncan, did not know who to confide in.  If anything is missing from Garden of Lamentations, it is the usual easy rapport and love between Duncan and Gemma.  Duncan’s secrecy leads to a bit of a rift between the two.  Not missing are all of the little details of routine family life that make these characters feel so real and relatable.  Too much responsibility and too little time are things we can all indentify with.  Supporting characters from earlier books make appearances, and I feel like I have visited old friends.  Though reading the other books in the series is recommended (why wouldn’t you want to read the whole series?), I do think that Crombie does a great job of providing readers with the back story needed to understand what is going on without spoiling the plots of previous books.  The meticulously researched London setting provides a firm foundation and authenticity to the story, and I feel like I am right there in the city with Duncan and Gemma.

Deborah Crombie is one of my favorite authors, and Garden of Lamentations is sure to afford readers hours of entertainment.  This suspenseful, edgy story is top notch.  Highly recommended.

  *OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*