Thursday, March 7, 2013
No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie
If you are a fan of mysteries, you will like this extremely well written story. This is the 14th Kincaid/James novel by Crombie. Her latest, The Sound of Broken Glass, just came out a few weeks ago. I plan on going back to the beginning and start reading these books!
Four Scotland Yard Detectives/Sergeants investigate the murder of a London policewoman. Becca Meredith was out in her rowing boat and never came home. She was found far from her boat in the Thames. As the detectives investigate they find out that she had been raped a year before by a police commissioner. It was covered up. This figures into her murder but as the investigation goes further there is a BIG twist in the story.
A glance at the sky made her swear aloud. It was later than she’d thought, darker than she’d realized. Since the clocks had moved back, night seemed to fall like a bludgeon, and there was a heavy wall of cloud moving in from the west, presaging a storm.
Heart thumping, she moved across the cottage’s shadowy garden and through the gate that led out onto the Thames path. Tendrils of mist were beginning to rise from the water. The river had a particular smell in the evenings, damp and alive and somehow primeval. The gunmetal surface of the water looked placid as a pond, but she knew that for an illusion. The current, swift here as the river made its way towards the roar of the weir below Hambleden Mill, was a treacherous trap for the unwary or the overconfident.
Breaking into a jog, Becca turned upriver, towards Henley, and saw that Henley Bridge was already lit. Her time was running out. “Bugger,” she whispered, and pumped up her pace.
She was sweating by the time she reached Leander, the most renowned of rowing clubs, tucked into the Remenham side of Henley Bridge. Lights had begun to come on in the dining room upstairs, but the yard was twilit and empty, the boatshed doors closed. The crew would be doing their last training session of the day in the gym, accompanied by the coaches, and that suited Becca just fine.
Opening the small gate into the yard, she went to the boat shed and unlocked the doors. Although her boat was up on an outside rack, she needed access to her blades, which were stored inside. She flicked on the lights, then stood for a moment, gazing at the gleaming yellow Empachers, the German-made boats used by most of the rowing eights. The shells rested one atop another, upside down, long, slender, and impossibly graceful. The sight of them pierced her like arrows.
But they were not for her. She’d never been suited for team rowing, even at university when she had rowed in the women’s eight. A gawky fresher, she’d been recruited by her college’s boat club. All the boat clubs trawled for innocent freshman, but they’d been particularly persistent in their pursuit of her. They had seen something besides her height and long limbs—obvious prerequisites for a rower. Perhaps, even then, they’d spotted the glint of obsession in her eyes.
Now, no team would be daft enough to take her on, no matter how good she had once been.
The thump of weights came from the gym next door, punctuated by the occasional voice. She didn’t want to speak to anyone--it would cost her valuable time. Hurrying to the back of the shed, she picked out her own sculls from the rack at the rear. The rectangular tips were painted the same Leander pink as her hat. More here.