Duncan Kincaid's holiday began well. As he turned the car into the lane, a shaft of sun broke through the clouds and lit a patch of rolling Yorkshire moor as if someone had thrown the switch on a celestial spotlight.
Drystone walls ran like pale runes across the brilliant green of pasture, where luminous sheep nibbled, unconcerned with their importance in the composition. The scene seemed set off in time as well as space, so that he had the odd sensation of viewing a living tapestry, a scene remote in time and utterly unattainable. The clouds shifted again, the vision fading as swiftly as it had come, and he felt an odd shiver of loss at its passing.
The last few weeks' grind must be catching up with him, he thought, shrugging away the faint sense of foreboding. New Scotland Yard didn't officially require newly promoted Detective Superintendents to work themselves into early coronaries, but August Bank Holiday had slipped easily into September, and he'd gone right on accumulating his time off. Something always came up, and the last case had been particularly beastly.
A string of bodies in rural Sussex, all women, all similarly mutilated--a policeman's worst nightmare. They'd found him in the end, a real nutter, but there was no guarantee that the evidence they'd so painstakingly gathered would convince a bleeding-heart jury, and the senselessness of it took most of the satisfaction from finishing up the mountain of paperwork.
"Lovely way to spend your Saturday night," Gemma James, Kincaid's sergeant, had said the evening before as they waded through the last of the case files.
"Tell the recruiters that. I doubt it occurred to them." Kincaid grinned at her across his littered desk. Gemma wouldn't grace a poster at the moment, her face white with fatigue, carbon smudge like a bruise along her cheekbone.
She puffed out her cheeks and blew at the wisps of red hair that straggled into her eyes. "You're just as well out of it for a week. Too bad some of us don't have cousins with posh holiday flats, or whatever it is."
"Do I detect a trace of envy?"
"You're off to Yorkshire tomorrow, and I'm off home to do a week's worth of washing and go round the shops? Can't imagine why." Gemma smiled at him with her usual good humor, but when she spoke next her voice held a trace of motherly concern. "You look knackered. It's about time you had a break. It'll do you a world of good, I'm sure."
"Such solicitousness from his sergeant, ten years his junior, amused Kincaid, but it was a new experience and he found he didn't really object. He'd pushed for his promotion because it meant getting away from the desk and out into the field again, but he'd begun to think that the best thing about it might be the acquisition of Sergeant Gemma James. In her late twenties, divorced, raising a small son on her own--Gemma's good-natured demeanor, Kincaid was discovering, concealed a quick mind and a fierce ambition.
"I don't think it's exactly my cup of tea," he said, shuffling the last loose sheets of paper into a file folder. "A timeshare."
"Your cousin, is it, who arranged this for you?"
Kincaid nodded. "His wife's expecting and their doctor's decided at the last moment that she shouldn't leave London, so they thought of me, rather than let their week go to waste."
"Fortune," Gemma had countered, teasing him a bit, "has a way of picking on the less deserving."
Too tired even for their customary after work stop at the pub, Gemma had gone off to Leyton, and Kincaid had stumbled home to his Hampstead flat and slept the dreamless sleep of the truly exhausted. And now, deserving or not, he intended to make the most of this unexpected gift. Read more here.
This is the first Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James book. Kincaid goes to Followdale House on vacation. His cousin has a timeshare there and they could not use it because his wife is very pregnant. The next morning a man is found dead by a couple of children also staying at the house. Kincaid hears their screams and comes down. The police arrive and the man in charge is an idiot. Kincaid tries not to get involved but calls his boss and gets permission for Gemma to do some investigating. A few days later another body is found. The next day an attempt is made on another of the guests. Kincaid and Gemma figure it out just in the nick of time! I enjoyed this story and was not sure who the murderer was. I had inklings later in the story. I have only read one other in this series, No Mark Upon Her.