On a blisteringly hot August afternoon in Crystal Palace, once home to the tragically destroyed Great Exhibition, a solitary 13-year-old boy meets his next-door neighbor, a recently widowed young teacher hoping to make a new start in the tight-knit South London community. Drawn together by loneliness, the unlikely pair forms a deep connection that ends in a shattering act of betrayal.
In the present...
On a cold January morning in London, Detective Inspector Gemma James is back on the job now that her husband, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, is at home to care for their three-year-old foster daughter. Assigned to lead a murder-investigation team in South London, she's assisted by her trusted colleague, newly promoted Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot. Their first case: a crime scene at a seedy hotel in Crystal Palace. The victim: a well-respected barrister, found naked, trussed, and apparently strangled. Is it an unsavory accident or murder? In either case, he was not alone, and Gemma's team must find his companion - a search that takes them into unexpected corners and forces them to contemplate unsettling truths about the weaknesses and passions that lead to murder. Ultimately, they will begin to question everything they think they know about their world and those they trust most.
©2013 Deborah Crombie (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I really have enjoyed the books of this series. This one, however, confused me on several levels. First of all, there's the really unlikely series of coincidences upon which the story and solution of this mystery are based. This number of connections would be hard to swallow in the smallest of villages; we're expected to believe that all these people come together exactly at this time and after all these years in a city the size of London!
I'm also trying to figure out the significance of the title and the information given in Chapter-beginning quotes about the old Crystal Palace. It's history is interesting, but the relevance to this story seems a bit obscure.
Gemma and Duncan and their developing relationship and blended family have been an important part of this series. Their domestic bliss, alas, so desired by fans, does not now add much tension or mystery. It's easy to see why authors delay these happy endings for as long as possible. Not to say they have become dull, but such perfect, loving people don't offer the same intrigue that the early Gemma/Duncan byplay did.
The smooth, lilting quality of Gerard Doyle's voice proves a bit too lulling for this sometimes slowly moving story. I think he's usually wonderful as a narrator, but he's not well suited to this listening experience.
trying to see the world with my ears
I listened or read the other 14 in this series within 4 months of downloading #1 from an Audible sale - and enjoyed all till this one.
The novels and characters grew more solid as the series progressed, and although Crombie seemed to "borrow" from best-selling UK crime novelists, the novels grew more original in plot and less cliche ridden in writing (with fewer "raised eyebrows" and "steepled fingers" and standard UK lines that we North Americans love). It took me three attempts to finish this instalment, however. Instead of turning to a Dickens novel or Edwardian poet for chapter starters, Crombie cites tourist and minor history websites--that element, though tiny, seems to symbolize the difference in #14. This one reads more like chick lit or YA than UK classic crime homage, especially as the incredible blended family becomes more --incredible -- and befriends pop stars...perhaps I had just expected too much. I don't enjoy noir but this was just too perky!
I love Gerard Doyle, but Jenny Sterlin became the voice of this series to me, especially as Gemma started to play a larger role.
Have re-discovered "quality time." Evenings listening to good books have replaced mindless tv watching. What a difference!
Don't know--have read all the ones before this, and this is the first I've listened to. I'd be just as happy to read them or listen to them.
I would not say it was edge of the seat, but the plot was one that was very intriguing! Crombie wrote this on several entwined levels. She interspersed the history--and ultimate destruction--of the Crystal Palace in London in and out of the back story of characters whose lives had connected such, that over time, a form of destruction which had been building among them was almost inevitable.
In this unfolding--one witnesses the connections and ultimate destruction of a set of people whose lives came together seemingly by chance--but who would remain emotionally connected for many years into the future (that is, the present day). Which, of course, is when the mystery is taking place.
What I especially liked was the way the three layers of story moved in and out leading the reader to the conclusion--along with Gemma, Melody (and Kincaid--though he was more involved in their personal story than as a detective in this book) to the ultimate end. And it was more than just solving a mystery--it was an ending that brought all the pieces of the earlier story together and brought their connections to a different place as well.
At first I couldn't decide--he has a nice warm, mellow sort of voice--one that almost lulled me rather than evoking that kind of inner excitement that goes with a good mystery. By the end of the book, however, I felt that his voice and his reading had been a very good choice. Because it was perfect for the revelation (as the back story) of the lives of very flawed people who had found each other (for good, for bad, for disaster) and become inextricably connected to each other--something told with the sound of great compassion (even for those who proved to be less than likable).
I felt that there were several less prominent issues in the story of the lives of Gemma and Kincaid that were left unfinished--or that of some of the people around them. But I assume we can look forward to learning more about all that in the next book--which I await with pleasure!
This writer has done a very good job of creating good mysteries and weaving in credible and engaging stories of the main characters--that stand on their own merits. Some mysteries seem to have background asides of the main characters' lives as sort of "filler" material. But a few do a wonderful job of making the reader feel really connected to them as people who live lives apart from their detecting--and one wants to read the next book just to find out what is happening there.
I cannot finish this book. I have read all the others. I can't seem to get the characters in my mind so every time I hear a name I have to pause to think who that is. Maybe some books just need to be read. The greatest aggravation is the "commercials" for the websites. Every time the narrator mentions a certain place he then rattles off the website associated with it. Every time! If this is going to be the new trend in audible books then I have a vast library of my own to keep me busy. I won't be buying more. I would not mind them mentioned at the end of the book but not through out, repeatedly. Others may not mind the interruption of the story flow but I do.
It does not add or subtract from the story
I just couldn't get involved enough in the book to care.
So disappointing for a series that I have enjoyed until now.
Well done! I enjoyed it tremendously.
Yes. I love Deberah Crombie's books. I get to know the characters and since I have read them all I know their history.
Very clear. Unhurried
Yes and practically did.
Our book club favorite! Love the progression of the characters and the absorbing mysteries which are not laced with the common profanity of many current authors.
I love the complex way Deborah Crombie weaves a story and the interesting pieces of life she chooses to present to you.
Any of Deborah Crombie's books share this same gift for story telling and suspense, I would recommend any of her books..
Excellent narrative, very easy to listen to and great delivery.
Not sure, but something about music, that was a very interesting twist to this story
I really don't think adding children's dialogue into a mystery is such a good idea. Mentioning them here and there as part of the detectives lives is just fine but I don''t care to hear much more from or about them. It's a detective story is it not? Reader is good even if he had to play the part of a little girl ;-)
Seeking the Truth
This novel is replete with advertisements, a new and underhanded scheme by the author, Deborah Crombie, which listeners must not accept. While the Crystal Palace (a plate-glass building quickly built in 1851, thus the reference to "broken glass" in the title) actually existed in English history, it is not critical to the theme of the book, and in fact its existence could have been completely omitted from the novel without changing any part of the story. However, the author repeatedly uses the words "Crystal Palace" as a reason to then cite the full website addresses of other authors' websites (even the BBC's) that cover the Crystal Palace's history and current status like a barker who attempts to attract patrons to an event they might otherwise pass by. It was very irksome to be listening to this mystery and suddenly have the narrator stop and clearly announce: "w w w dot Judy North dot com" (example only). Presumably the listener is supposed to think Deborah Crombie felt the need to give credit to other authors' thoughts about the Crystal Palace that Ms. Crombie pilfered for use in her own book, like footnotes in a thesis, rather than put the idea in her own words. But this is not a thesis; if the author felt compared to quote so much of other authors' works, she could have done so at the end of the story and all at one time. But since the Crystal Palace had no great significance to the theme of the book, why did Ms. Crombie want to interrupt her story with pointless website promotions about it? Did Ms. Crombie receive payment for each website announced during this novel? That's what it appears to this listener!
Omit the promotion of other authors' works during the narration of the story.
There was no scene that stood out as a favorite. The only thing that stood out was the blatant promotion of other authors' websites.
I don't know. I was too irritated with the "w w w dot Judy North dot coms" promotions to be able to pay the attention to whatever qualities the book may or may not have had to offer.
The narrator, Gerard Doyle, did his usual outstanding job.
First time I buy a book based on the listeners page reviews and what a dissapointment. This book is torture and the characters are boring me to the point that I can't even finish the book.
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