had to wait two years for the latest Deborah Crombie book,
Garden Of Lamentations, but it was well worth it. This
plot follows the unanswered questions from Crombie's last
novel, Dwell In Darkness. People might remember how Detective
Superintendent Duncan Kincaid had not solved the loose ends
in the last novel. He is still troubled by a grenade attack,
a devastating fire, and the odd behavior of his boss, Chief
Superintendent Denis Childs.
The author had the idea from "an article about the undercover
British police officers for the special branch. It referred
to the abuse of power by the police with no oversight. I thought
it fascinating to explore those who thought it morally wrong
to do what they were asked to do. They had undercover spies
in campaign groups."
Crombie explained why the long delay, "This book just
was really hard to write. I struggled in how I would wrap
up the continuing story arc. It was hard to figure out how
all the different parts of the story would fit together and
how other parts would be resolved. I did not want to make
it boring for those who read the previous books and to make
sense for those who would read it as a stand-alone. It is
really a delicate balance to provide the backstory without
slowing the current plot down."
All the unanswered questions come to a resolution in this
story including Kincaid's investigation of police corruption.
But there are also sub-plots that stand on their own. His
wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James is investigating the
death of a young nanny in the locked Cornwall Gardens, in
Notting Hill. These two investigations create an intense mystery,
especially since this lack of communication added to the tension
in the novel.
Commenting on the setting, "I made the Gardens fictional.
The general place is now a housing complex at this stop. I
used my writer's power to make the place pretty. It serves
as a character in the book. I chose to make the houses and
gardens the way I wanted."
Duncan and James are no longer working together, which meant
that they didn't interact very much throughout the book. He
is hiding his growing suspicions for fear of endangering his
family, which creates an emotional divide between them. Gemma
misreads her husband's attempt to protect her, believing instead
that they are drifting apart, originally caused when they
started to each put their career and children before one other.
The author said, "Relationships take a beating in this
book: Duncan and Gemma, Duncan and Doug, Doug and Melody.
I am thinking in the next book to send them off to the country
house of Melody's parents where they must all work together
to solve a case."
This novel has plenty of twists and surprises involving the
cautionary tale about the abuse of power. It is not only plot
driven, but character driven as well where both the relationships
and story make for an intense read.