Deborah Crombie

Water Like A Stone

"will catapult this novelist to the massive readership she deserves."


Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are spending their Christmas holiday with Duncan's family. Not only is it the festive season, but the two police officers are introducing Kit, Duncan's son, to his parents, the child's paternal grandparents. Recently getting over a miscarriage, Gemma and Duncan hear that his sister, Juliet, has found the mummified corpse of a baby in the old barn she is converting for clients. With this find, old memories are being rekindled of babies and motherhood.

Then there is another death, and the group begin to wonder if there is a link. Can this incident also be linked with the strange behaviour of Juliet's husband, Leo. With internal family squabbling and deceptions from outsiders as well as from those from inside the family, it is a Christmas that many of the Kincaid family are never going to forget.

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Duncan and Gemma are featured in this, their eleventh novel from the mighty pen and imagination of Deborah Crombie. Ms. Crombie's novels inevitably draw comparisons with Elizabeth George and, to my mind, this is a shame. The only likeness between both writers is the fact that they write novels with well-rounded characters. Crombie's book is a hefty tome and is full of the daily traumas of a family getting to know new members while other members have their own agendas. She gives the right feeling to a family fraught with the festive season, as other events seem to be conspiring against them. The reader is certainly given more history about the main characters, but this book is more about the teenagers Kit and Tally, cousins who are facing puberty and feelings that they cannot place and have no rhyme or reason. This novel is definitely about family, growing up and the pains of becoming an adult-in-waiting. Crombie makes all her characters sympathetic and there is not a single false note within the 514 pages of this book. My main wish is to stop comparisons with George and make Crombie a name as big, if not bigger than her counterpart. I found this an excellent read. One that I hope will catapult this novelist to the massive readership she deserves.

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