Monday, April 18, 2011

A Finer End by Deborah Crombie

30. A Finer End - seventh in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series
by Deborah Crombie
mystery, 2001
Kindle book - 16
finished, 4/7/11

One of the many reasons I like Deborah Crombie's work so much is that I get to visit new-to-me places.This time it is Glastonbury. All I knew about it was the festival. And when I saw this year's lineup, how I wished I could go.

I found a site that tells about the historical and mythological aspects of the town. One may choose to believe what he or she wishes, but there is a mystical feeling about the place. Deborah Crombie shows the reader that not everyone experiences it, but certain people do.

In A Finer End, we get to know Kincaid's cousin Jack. It was his time-share where Duncan stayed in the very first book of this series, A Share in Death. Jack Montfort, an architect grew up in Glastonbury, and has returned to the family home after the death of his wife and infant child.
At forty, he was back in Glastonbury. It was a move he'd have found inconceivable twenty years earlier, but here he was, alone in his parents' old house on Ashwell Lane, besieged by memories.
Jack is a down-to-earth kind of fellow, but recently something has been happening which really shakes him.
He held a pen in his right hand, although he didn't remember picking it up. And the page, which had been blank a moment ago, was covered in an unfamiliar script. Frowning, he checked for another sheet beneath the paper. But there was only the one page, and as he examined it more closely, he saw that the small, precise script seemed to be in Latin. ...
Was this some kind of joke, invisible ink that appeared when exposed to the light? But his secretary didn't strike him as a prankster, and he'd taken the paper from a ream he'd just unwrapped himself. That left only the explanation that he had penned these words - alien in both script and language. But that was absurd. How could he have done so, unaware?
Can you imagine? How would you feel if this happened to you? Frankly, I'd be pretty freaked out, as is he. But, because he knows Glastonbury history, a name comes into his mind. Frederick Bligh Bond.
The architect who, just before the First World War, had undertaken the first excavations at Glastonbury Abbey, then revealed that he had been directed by messages from the Abbey monks.
I was amazed to find out that he was a real person (and the cousin of Sabine Baring-Gould who is featured in a Laurie R. King book called The Moor, and even makes an appearance on the blog), and that this kind of writing which he did, and the character Jack does, has a name - automatic writing. Though there are skeptics, it does seem to have happened. And this is only the beginning of the unusual occurrences in this book. A group of people begin gathering to discuss what is being written, people who trust Jack. One is an older 'new age' sort of person, another is a scholar, another is an Anglican priest with whom Jack has begun a tentative relationship. There is also a young pregnant girl who has run away from parental disapproval, and a young man who arrived in Glastonbury and felt he must stay. This gathering of such seemingly disparate types results in incredible happenings. Literally incredible.

And at the same time, Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are going through their own personal ups and downs. As always, I don't want to go into the details because their developing relationship is as important to each of the books in the series as is the mystery. This was a particularly excellent installment. I was fascinated by all the Glastonbury history and the inexplicable happenings.

And the map! How I love the maps in her books. Here is the one for A Finer End. (You may click to see closer detail)

In conclusion, I want to say that not only does Deborah Crombie have a fantastic website, but she has also joined a blog called Jungle Red Writers. And for more book reports about this series, you may click on the 'authors' tab under the blog header photo.


  1. Thanks Nan dear. I'll check out her website. The book looks fascinating and I will put it on my two mile list.

    You always guide me to such good reading.


    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  2. I truly am going to begin reading this series. Maybe this would be a good one to start while we are on vacation. You make each books soun so wonderful. Must read them!

  3. This is a series that I'm looking up for sure! I love that map...does it show up in the Kindle?

  4. I love Deborah Crombie's books & especially, as you say, the developing relationship between Gemma & Duncan. One of my favourite mystery series.

  5. I think Deborah Crombie is amazing. No easy task for a Texan to write about England.

  6. I love Deborah Crombie's work, and am still trying to read them all in order! They're great.

  7. I'm with you. I'd love to go to that festival! Here's who I'd like to see:
    U2, Coldplay, Paolo Nutini, Paul Simon, Don McLean, Mumford & Sons, and Fleet Foxes.

  8. Sharon, 'two mile list' - isn't that the truth! Thanks for your kind words.

    Kay, this is a very special series; well written, excellent subject matter and locales, and true-to-life characters.

    Staci, yes it does but I like the online line ones better since I can enlarge them.

    Lyn, so happy to meet a fellow fan. She's a great writer.

    Ann, apparently she spends a fair bit of time there. Her details and historical backgrounds are just fantastic.

    Kristi, they sure are!

    Les, loved your list! Haven't heard of some of them though.

  9. This sounds like an exceptionally good one, Nan. I've begun reading the Crombie books on your sayso. I've already read three...or maybe four. Can't remember. I'm trying to squeeze them in between my other books. So many recommendations, so many books, so little time - well, you know how it goes. I love maps in books too!

  10. I love her books and have read them all. Frankly, I'm thinking about re-reading them, they are so good. I heard the next one isn't due out until winter 2012. I can't wait, but I'm sure it will be worth it.

  11. I haven't read any of this author but you make her sound very interesting. They have some in the library, but I think I might start with the first one on Kindle, so that I can follow the developing story properly.

  12. Yvette, Isn't she just great?!

    Jill, I read that too. I think it comes out in England this year. Maybe I'll buy it from Book Depository if it does. Not sure I can wait. :<)

    Geranium Cat, I'm quite sure you will love these books!


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