Review: Kissed a Sad Goodbye by Deborah Crombie

kissed-a-sad-goodbyeKissed a Sad Goodbye
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series, Book 6
Genre: Mystery, British Police Procedural
Published by Bantam Books, 1999
Library book
322 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Scotland Yard’s Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James face their most haunting case yet when the past devastatingly intersects with the present….

The call from Scotland Yard couldn’t have come at a worse time for Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid. He has promised the weekend to Kit, the eleven-year-old son of his ex-wife. The son he never knew he fathered — who doesn’t yet know Kincaid’s true identity.

But Duncan’s best intentions are shattered by an investigation that draws him in and swiftly consumes him. It seems to begin with the discovery of the body of a beautiful young woman in an East London park. But Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James will discover that this case has long roots that reach far back into the past, and that resentments which should have been decades buried still have the power to hurt — and maybe even the capacity to kill.

“Sit down. I’ve made us some coffee. This morning we’re just going to get acquainted.”

“But I thought . . .” Gemma’s nervousness flooded back. Whatever had possessed her to make this appointment, to give up a free Saturday morning that could have been spent with Toby? It had been a stupid idea, a chance thought followed up when it should have been dismissed, and now she was about to make an utter ass of herself. Thank goodness she’d told no one but her friend Hazel what she meant to do.

Wendy Sheinart sat down beside Gemma and lifted the coffeepot. “Now.” Smiling, she filled Gemma’s cup. “You can tell me why you want to play the piano.”


  • I did figure out who had committed the murder, but didn’t figure out the correct reason!
  • I like learning more and more about Duncan and Gemma. I empathize with Duncan and all the changes to his personal life that occurred in the last book.
  • So many things have changed in Duncan and Gemma’s lives. Finding out he has an 11-year-old son came as a shock. He and Gemma are still trying to come to terms with this and how it affects their relationship. And Duncan is trying to figure out how he can be part of Kit’s life when he isn’t Kit’s legal guardian.
  • During this book Gemma must make decisions about her future.
  • One of the things Ms. Crombie does a good job with is showing many sides to her characters. Gemma has gradually discovered a love of music as these books have progressed. As the quote above shows she decides to take piano lessons, but she’s very unsure of herself and doesn’t like to admit her vulnerability. It doesn’t quite fit how she sees herself.
  • I also like the quotes which Deborah Crombie puts at the beginning of each chapter. In this case, the books she quotes from tell about the setting for this book–The Isle of Dogs, a peninsula in the River Thames. The history of the area and especially during WWII is important to the story.
  • The library books (hardcovers) I’ve read in this series have wonderful maps on the end pages. The map from this book, drawn by Laura Hartman Maestro, is great because it really helps to visualize the area in England the book talks about. They also show where certain things happen in the book so I don’t look too closely until I’ve finished a book! I think all the maps are drawn by her, but I’m not sure.


  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • If you have the opportunity, read from the books from the beginning as Gemma and Duncan’s lives change throughout the books.
  • Such a good mystery series. Deborah Crombie does a great job creating a series which is satisfying both on the personal level as well as the professional level.

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

Reading Challenges

  • 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: Kissed a Sad Goodbye by Deborah Crombie”

  1. I’m glad to see that Gemma is having to make decisions about her future. I know you weren’t loving that issue. I would love to do a reread of this series. The last time I read it was soon after they were published so it’s been a long time. This one was one of my favorites!


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