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Crombie uses her characters and plot in some unexpected and interesting ways. This installment's victim is a senior police officer. Crombie uses this instance to shed light on the inner workings of the Met. The case is set in an English country village and Crombie uses the setting to give us a new look into English country life. The intersecting lives and loss of life in this village are presented in fresh, never predictable and, one senses, quite accurate ways.
Sometimes, mystery/crime series can be a bit like watching 'Touched by an Angel'. The formula never varies, the pace never varies, characters are predictable and two-dimensional at best. You will feel mad, glad, sad and afraid at all the usual points. This is NOT SO with Crombie's Kincaid/James series, especially installments 3 and 4.
I'm on to #5 in the series "Dreaming of the Bones" which was a NY Times Notable Book of the year when it was published -- a rare acheivement by a crime series novel. If Crombie stays on track -- and the Times's opinion indicates she has -- this should be a winner.