Review: Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie


Leave the Grave Green
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, Book 3
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural (British)
Published by Scribner, 1995
Library book
253 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: When Connor Swann, the dissolute son-in-law of renowned and influential Sir Gerald and Dame Caroline Asherton, is found floating in a Thames River lock, the circumstances eerily recall a strangely similar tragedy. Twenty years ago, the Ashertons’ young son, Matthew, a musical prodigy, drowned in a swollen stream while in the company of his sister Julia — Connor Swann’s wife.

Police Superintendant Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James quickly discover that Connor’s death was no accident, and that nothing in the Asherton family is as it seems. Connor, though estranged from Julia for more than a year, still lives in her London apartment, where his exploits with women and gambling suggest plenty of motives. The Ashertons are far more attached to Connor than to their own daughter, and these are only the first of the secrets that haunt the suspects. New lies cover older lies, as Kincaid finds himself dangerously drawn to Julia Swann, and Gemma must confront her own troubling feelings for Kincaid.

Gemma thought of her mother, who had risen in the early hours of the morning to bake every day of her married life, then worked the counter in the shop from opening till closing. The possibility of not working never occurred to Gemma or her sister–it had been Gemma’s driving ambition for the work to be of her own choosing, not something done purely for the necessity of putting food on the table.


Like Prince Charles, he found most contemporary architecture to be a blight upon the landscape.


  • I’m finding as I read these mysteries that past history is always important to the story–in this case, the characters’ pasts cause problems for them in the present.
  • The Asherton family is the definition of a dysfunctional family.
  • I like how the books take place in different parts of England.
  • I like how Gemma and Duncan keep growing and changing. Gemma is discovering a love for music.


  • In all three of books so far in the series Duncan seems to feel more sympathy to female characters in his cases. I’m not sure I like that about his character!
  • This is a spoiler…so if you haven’t read the book don’t read further. (If you highlight the text after this you will see the spoiler!) I love Gemma and Duncan, but she works for him and it’s very unprofessional for them to have a personal life together when Duncan is her supervisor.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I didn’t like this book nearly as much as the last book. (Because of the above spoiler.) Otherwise, I like the book! 😉
  • However, even though I don’t agree with some of the actions of the characters in this book I continue to like these books a lot.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge (Hoping to read 100 books this year)