|Deborah Crombie: A Finer End|
Books (Paperback), ISBN 0-553-57927-4-1
When Detective Duncan Kincaid's cousin, Jack, calls from Glastonbury to request Duncan's help dealing with an unusual matter, Duncan welcomes the chance to spend a relaxing weekend away from crime-rife London. He soon learns that relaxation is not on the agenda.
Many revere Glastonbury as the site of an ancient abbey, the burial place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, and a strong source of druidic power. Jack harbors no more than a passing interest in its history until inexplicable circumstances cause him to discover an extraordinary chronicle dating back a thousand years. The record reveals something terrible and bloody that shattered the abbey's peace long ago, knowledge that promises to spark violence in the present.
It falls upon Duncan and his partner, Gemma, to unearth the truth that the local police fail to discern. But no one envisions the peril that lies ahead, and the stakes that loom higher than anyone can imagine.
I usually prefer identifying with a single character, though not necessarily the protagonist. A Finer End offers an eccentric ensemble of 11 viewpoint characters from which to choose. I docked the book half a point, however, because for one reason or another I couldn't identify with any of them. I lopped off another half-point for the dizzying confusion generated as each character introduced him- or herself and multiple predicaments and agendas -- within the first four chapters.
The good news is that story sorts itself out after chapter five or six (sooner if you already met Duncan and Gemma in a previous adventure), and it evolves into a thoroughly engaging read.
Crombie claims to visit England annually for research, and it shows in the You Are There depiction of the setting. A unique fantasy element serves as the catalyst for murder and mayhem, which unfolds in the well-articulated plot.
So grab a "cuppa" tea, curl into your favorite reading chair, and cap off your day with A Finer End.
Kim D. Headlee
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