Review: In a Dark House by Deboarah Crombie

in-a-dark-houseIn a Dark House
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #10
Genre: Mystery (police procedural)
Published by Avon, 2005
E-book, purchased
384 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: In a Dark House puts Gemma and Duncan’s multilayered relationship to the test, as these two gifted investigators find themselves working a brutal and complex case from differing perspectives. It starts simply. Superintendent Kincaid is called in to “help” when a member of Parliament’s venture into real estate goes up in smoke. At first Duncan expects that his role will be limited to keeping the politician’s involvement out of the limelight. But the discovery of the body of a nude young woman at the fire scene guarantees he’ll soon be doing more than damage control.

Gemma comes to the case through unofficial channels, when her offer to help a friend whose lodger has vanished reveals unmistakable signs of a double life. When the M.P.’s wayward daughter disappears, Gemma and Duncan discover disturbing evidence linking that to another missing-persons case — one where an angry father, desperate to remove his daughter from his ex-wife’s care, entrusted his little girl to a virtual stranger, only to have both the woman and child disappear without a trace. Carefully, patiently, Duncan and Gemma tease out the connections between the brutalized corpse, the missing women, the kidnapped girl and a series of suspicious fires that suggest a pattern of accelerating danger. Sue Stone

Whatever the reason, she knew only that she wanted fiercely to hold on to things just the way they were and not take any risks that might bring about change.


“How can you, of all people, trust in fate?” Erika, a German Jew, had lost every single member of her family during the war.

“Because the only other option is to live in constant fear, which to me seems hardly worth doing.”


  • I continue to love this series.
  • Lots happens in this book . . . missing women, murder, arson, a missing child . . . and how do they fit together? Or do they even fit together?
  • And the book also shows important aspects of Gemma and Duncan’s lives. Their personal lives have happy and sad aspects just as everyone’s lives do.
  • Because so much has happened in her personal life Gemma wants to keep everything the same. That’s impossible to do, of course, but she’s trying very hard.
  • During this book Duncan and Gemma seem distant from each other. She doesn’t want to talk about the miscarriage. They don’t discuss marriage. Their work tends to get in the way of their personal lives. While I read this book I did wonder how they can possibly juggle their very busy professional work and be there for their sons. This is the dilemma countless parents face every day.


  • The beautiful maps included with this series are very small and unreadable in the digital copies. They can’t be enlarged.
  • I would like to see more cases where Gemma and Duncan work on cases which aren’t entangled. However, I do understand Ms. Crombie wanting to show them working together.
  • It felt a little like Duncan and Gemma were walking in place in this book. Not a lot happens in their personal lives. Time needs to pass before they can move forward.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I don’t want to continue reading this series so fast since I only have six books until I catch up! I will space them out a little more!

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

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • The Ultimate Reading Challenge is hosted by Popsugar (a mystery or thriller)

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.

4 thoughts on “Review: In a Dark House by Deboarah Crombie”

  1. You know I don’t remember this one too much. I do remember there was a phase where Gemma and Duncan’s relationship went stagnant. I actually miss them working together! It makes sense why they don’t as much but they had some great chemistry as coworkers! Thanks for sharing!


    1. Oh, I miss them working together, too, Katherine, but there usually have to be lots of coincidences for them to work together and after awhile it seems too stretch credibility. But they have to be together since I love these books!


  2. This is a new series to me but it sounds exciting. I enjoy police procedurals and am addicted to a lot of television shows. Might have to check this out. Thanks for the fun review.


    1. Oh, it’s a great series, Laura. And I’m addicted to a lot of TV shows, too! I hope you’ll like these if you check out the series.


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