Review: Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie

necessary-as-bloodNecessary as Blood
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series #13
Genre: Contemporary Mystery (police procedural)
Setting: East End, London, England
Published by Harper Collins e-books, 2009
E-book, purchased
388 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: Once the haunt of Jack the Ripper, London’s East End is a vibrant mix of history and new ideas, but the trendy galleries of Brick Lane disguise a seedy underside where unthinkable crimes bring terror to the innocent. Artist and young mother Sandra Gilles disappears without trace after leaving her three-year-old daughter, Charlotte, with a friend at the Columbia Road Flower Market. Her lawyer husband, Naz Malik, is devastated – but he’s also the prime suspect in a murder investigation.

“…I don’t feel quite right about using our parish church for hatch, match, and dispatch,” she amended. “It just seems a bit callous, somehow.”


Whatever her rationale, she was meddling in their case, and he didn’t like it. He disliked even more the fact that he couldn’t complain about it.

But he would just have to bide his time.


  • This is such a good series and I especially like the conclusion of this book in the personal life of Gemma and Duncan.

    Laura Hartman Maestro’s map from the hardcover edition endpapers
  • Gemma and Duncan are such fun to read about both in their professional lives and in their personal lives.
  • Duncan and Gemma are engaged in this book, but Duncan is worried that Gemma may not want to get married since she keeps putting off setting a date for the wedding.
  • I also love reading about Kit and Toby. Ms. Crombie does a good job with the children in these books.
  • We get more of a view of Gemma’s family in this book. Gemma’s mother has cancer and is in the hospital. Gemma’s father isn’t the strong one in the relationship and he has trouble holding things together. He lashes out at Gemma who is very hurt by the things he says to her.
  • The mystery in this book is very good. It was hard to figure out exactly what had happened. It’s especially heartbreaking because of three-year-old Charlotte whose mother disappeared.
  • Gemma gets involved in this case, but from a different angle than Duncan and his sergeant.
  • I’ve mentioned before how much I love the maps which are in the hardcover edition endpapers. Laura Hartman Maestro does a wonderful job drawing them. Most of the maps are also available to view on Ms. Crombie’s web page. Though don’t look too closely at a map from a book you haven’t read–it might contain spoilers.


  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I love this series. Each book is so good and I love reading about the solving of the mysteries as well as reading more about Gemma and Duncan and their family.
  • My only worry is that there are only 16 books in the series so far and this is number 13. I think she’s writing another book in the series, but there’s no publishing date yet.

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

Author info

  • A trip to Yorkshire inspired Deborah Crombie’s first Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James mystery. She’s a Texas native who still lives in Texas though she spends time in England every year.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog