Review: Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie



Mourn Not Your Dead
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series, Book 4
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural (British)
Published by Scribner, 1997
E-book, Purchased
310 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: The murder at Holmbury St Mary was not one that Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard would relish investigating. A man has been beaten to death in his own home. A man who just happened to be Commander Alastair Gilbert of the Metropolitan Police… Only adding to Kincaid’s problems are his tangled personal feelings for Sergeant Gemma James. And in an investigation of this importance neither can afford a breakdown in their relationship. Combining subtle emotional nuances and psychological insights with the intricacies of police procedure, Deborah Crombie produces a powerful contemporary mystery in the classic tradition.

When she’d started in the force, a rookie constable, she’d almost unconsciously shared her parents’ disdain for those who could “better themselves if they made the effort,” but experience had quickly taught her that the equation was almost never that simple. For some the most you could do was try to make their lives a little more comfortable, and if possible leave them a bit of dignity.


“And we can’t compromise ourselves….We swore to uphold the law, not to pass sentence, and we dare not cross that line, no mater how good our intentions….”


  • The book is told from both Duncan’s and Gemma’s points of view.
  • This is a case no policeman would want to investigate–the murder of a Commander with the Metropolitan Police. Lots of political problems with that one!
  • Gemma is uncomfortable with Duncan and they are at odds with each other during much of the book.
  • I really like the dialogue Crombie writes as well as the sense of place and descriptions she gives the reader.
  • The mystery is also well plotted and kept me guessing.
  • I like the characters introduced in each book. Some become continuing characters and some we don’t see again, but they are well crafted.
  • These books don’t pull their punches. Sometimes bad things happen when we don’t want them to.


  • I’m still troubled by the relationship between Duncan and Gemma. But I’m compulsively reading these books!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’m reading these books much faster than I’m getting them reviewed. I have to hurry up and get these reviews done and posted!

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

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