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Dreaming of the Bones [Hardcover]

Deb. Crombie
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1997
When talented and tormented poet Lydia Brooke dies, it is assumed that she has taken her own life. Now obsession has taken hold of Victoria McClellan. A feminist biographer at Cambridge, Vic finds herself immersed in the poet's world. Uneasy about the manner of Lydia's death, Vic calls on her ex-husband, Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, for help. But before he can take action, Vic herself is dead--and there's no question that this one is murder. As Kincaid and his lover and partner, Gemma James, investigate, they are exposed to secrets that have reached out over three decades and poisoned a dozen lives.

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From Amazon

"Deborah Crombie might be the most British of American mystery novelists," said an astute reviewer in reference to Mourn Not Your Dead, the fourth book in her excellent series about Duncan Kincaid, an inoffensively upper-class Scotland Yard superintendent, and Sergeant Gemma James, his rougher-edged partner and lover. In addition to her finely tuned ear for the subtler nuances of Britspeak, Crombie--a resident of Richardson, Texas--achieves a rare and therefore enviable balance between the details of her characters' private lives and the plot of each particular book. That delicate balance is especially welcome in Dreaming of the Bones, when Kincaid's former wife, Dr. Victoria McClellan, threatens his personal and professional equanimity. A Cambridge don, Vic has been writing a biography of poet Lydia Brooke, who claimed kinship to the distinguished World War I bard Rupert Brooke, and whose suicide five years before is now beginning to appear suspiciously like murder.


--The New York Times Book Review

"A story of death, obsession and secrets."
--Houston Chronicle

"An elegant, literary mystery...outstanding."
--Mystery Lovers Bookshop News

"Deborah Crombie at her best...This is a story of great depth and understanding."
--Mystery News

"Dreaming of the Bones will make you cry and catch your breath in surprise."
--Chicago Tribune

--The Orlando Sentinel

"Haunting...The best book in an already accomplished series."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

Nominated for the Edgar and the Agatha awards for The Year's Best Novel --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dreaming of the Bones is a wonderful book, and the title reflects the storyline. The way Ms. Crombie slides in and out of the past with the book is almost dreamlike. In this book, Duncan Kincaid and his Gemma are trying to solve what could have been a five year old murder, but while they're trying to convince the authorities that it was murder and not suicide another death occurs that can't be anything but murder. Kincaid has to determine what happened years and years ago to try to figure out who has committed these murders. In his search he comes upon some truths of his own that will probably change his life completely. It's a voyage of discovery for him as well as revenge. Despite the few discrepancies this book seemed to be more British than the others that I have read in this series. Ms. Crombie should do a bit of research to determine how the English spell "colour", but it did not take away from the story, and I really did enjoy it!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Another British murder mystery Dec 5 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I though this book was entertaining and well written. It is another in the slew of mystery novels featuring Britiesh gentlemen detectives, combining crime solving with personal dilemmas. This is similar to books written by Ruth Rendell. What I liked best about the book was the descriptions of Cambridge, which brought back my own university days. What I liked least was the murder plot - this writer is so good that I don't think she needs to rely on formula. She would do just fine writing straight literary fiction.
I read this several years ago and then reread it - I didn't realize that I had already read it till half-way through, so I guess it is not a particularly memorable book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Series gets better & better Sept. 27 2003
I am reading all of the Kincaid-Gemma books in chronological order. This is the best one yet. I like Crombie's books better than Elizabeth George's. Her characters get on with the crime solving & don't indulge in such navel-gazing & endless angst over their relationships the way George's do. I think the reader should just take this book for what it is -- fiction -- a good mystery & not get onvolved in analyzing the poetry, the letters, & who is supposed to represent whom in real life. Just enjoy it! I can't wait to read the next one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable Mystery Read Jan. 7 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Deborah Crombie gives a nice comfortable mystery story with several detours for one to ponder. Characters are very interesting people. This story was strange but well written. It kept my interest. Kincaid and Gemma's relationship is moving along nicely. On to the next.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read . . . Jan. 29 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Except for Martha Grimes, I don't usually go in for English mystery series, the sort of thing with continuing characters and starring a Scotland Yard investigator, nor have I read any others in this series. But I can see why this novel was voted a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and why it was nominated for both the Edgar and the Agatha.
Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid has been divorced for twelve years, his life is ticking right along, and he has a nicely developing romance with his sergeant, Gemma James. And then he hears from his ex-wife, Victoria, now a professor of modern English poetry at Cambridge, who has been researching a biography of Lydia Brooke, who died in what Victoria has come to believe are suspicious circumstances a few years before. She wants Duncan's help, and he agrees, to Gemma's consternation. Sounds like a pretty routine plot, doesn't it? It's not, believe me. Where most writers in this genre concentrate on the plot, with characters who are less than three-dimensional, or (again, like Martha Grimes) develop wonderful characters but tend to stint the mystery itself, Crombie succeeds very well at both. Duncan and Gemma and Victoria all come alive, as do the supporting players, and you won't guess at the solution to the mystery until the denouement, either. By the end of the book, Duncan's life has become permanently more complicated, and I want to know what happens next! (Obviously, I'm going to have to go back and read the first four books in this series before tackling the sixth one.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best! Dec 25 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of my favorite murder mysteries of all time. I've read tons of murder mysteries, and this one ranks #2 on my list (second only to the Reeve's Tale by Margaret Frazer).
In Dreaming of the Bones, Deborah Crombie combines an intriguing plot with engrossing characters. I highly recommend this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing mystery by a talented writer. Aug. 18 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Deborah Crombie writes uncannily like another American-born author of English detective novels, Elizabeth George. Both Crombie and George write about British detectives who are intensely human, compassionate and introspective. At the same time, these detectives are very competent and persistent in their dogged pursuit of justice. Crombie and George also go to great pains to develop their characters, and they write natural dialogue that is both literate and engaging. In "Dreaming of the Bones," Crombie explores the deepening relationship between Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. The personal lives of these two characters are in turmoil, and suddenly, Kincaid and James find themselves joining forces to solve a serious of murders that hit uncomfortably close to home. In "Dreaming of the Bones," Crombie uses flashbacks skillfully and her sardonic humor is delightful. The only drawback is the ending, which is a little anticlimactic and drags on longer than it should. In spite of this flaw, I recommend "Dreaming of the Bones" highly, since it is a satisfying and an entertaining mystery.
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