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?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

2 thoughts on “Review: Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie”

  1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying this series. You’re really making me want to go back and do a reread! I do agree about the issues with Duncan and Gemma’s relationship. It’s definitely against the rules and unethical but I think Crombie handled it where it felt okay. She does deal with it later on though. Crombie is always a good read for me though there was one of her newer books that just didn’t work for me. Enjoy!


  2. I’m so glad you’re reading and enjoying these! I need to get back to them; I stopped in the middle of book 9 because it had to go back to the library, and didn’t get back to it.

    As far as Duncan and Gemma’s relationship, hang in there. On the one hand, yes, it’s certainly problematic given their relative positions. On the other hand, a) it’s realistic and b) the ethical issues get dealt with eventually (and also realistically.)


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