A 2008 Macavity Award Finalist for Best Mystery Novel
When Scotland Yard superintendent Duncan Kincaid takes Gemma, Kit, and Toby for a holiday visit to his family in Cheshire, Gemma is soon entranced with Nantwich’s pretty buildings and the historic winding canal, and young Kit is instantly smitten with his cousin Lally.
But their visit is marred by family tensions exacerbated by the unraveling of Duncan’s sister Juliet’s marriage. And tensions are brought to the breaking point on Christmas Eve with Juliet’s discovery of a mummified infant’s body interred in the wall of an old dairy barn—a tragedy hauntingly echoed by the recent drowning of Peter Llewellyn, a schoolmate of Lally’s.
Meanwhile, on her narrowboat, former social worker Annie Lebow is living a life of self-imposed isolation and preparing for a lonely Christmas, made more troubling by her meeting earlier in the day with the Wains, a traditional boating family whose case precipitated Annie’s leaving her job.
As the police make their inquiries into the infant’s death, Kincaid discovers that life in the lovely market town of his childhood is far from idyllic and that the dreaming reaches of the Shropshire Union Canal hold dark and deadly secrets … secrets that may threaten everything and everyone he holds most dear.
© 2007 by Deborah Crombie
“As in books by Elizabeth George and P. D. James, the intriguing personal relationships and family dynamics drive this well-crafted, impressive mystery-drama.”
“This is a good mystery, but its strength is in the personal stories: those of the teenagers (both Duncan's son and niece), the families on the narrowboats, some of the neighbors, and also continuing Duncan and Gemma's relationship.”
“With a multilayered plotline, deft characterizations…and endless compassion…Crombie creates another worthy installment in her distinguished body of work.”
Richmond Times Dispatch
“Crombie's emotionally intense, quietly yet exquistely wrought gems have taken on new brilliance with each offering.”
“Crombie's prose is lyrical, biting…and evocative.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Michael Deehy is an Earphones Award-winning narrator and an actor whose career has taken him around the world performing in a multitude of plays by Shakespeare, Chekhov, Shaw, Synge, and a host of other playwrights. He divides his time between the United States and England, where he has performed in both regional theater and in London’s West End, as well as a number of national television shows.