In Crombie’s 17th series novel, Garden of Lamentations, Det. Supt. Duncan Kincaid confronts disturbing official developments, while his wife, Det. Insp. Gemma Jones, investigates the murder of a nanny.
Garden of Lamentations contrasts Duncan’s investigation with Gemma’s case. What does comparing these two scenarios accomplish?
Gemma, although working temporarily with a new partner, is still investigating within the safe and familiar confines of the system. She’s certain she can trust her colleagues and that they are working toward the same ends. I think that makes it all the more clear that Duncan is out in the cold, in completely unfamiliar territory. He has no support and is afraid to confide in anyone, even Gemma. And he knows that a mistake could not only end his career but also could endanger his life and the safety of his friends and family.
How do you view Duncan and Gemma’s relationship?
From the beginning, I’ve seen them as equal partners, even when they were working as a professional team and Duncan was the senior officer. They each bring different strengths to an investigation. The same is true of their personal relationship, and with two strong personalities, it’s not always smooth sailing. Ultimately, both the personal and professional partnerships are based on mutual respect and honesty, but maintaining that is often a difficult balance. For me, that keeps things interesting.
What appeals to you about the different points of view in the book?
Writing in multiple voices and viewpoints is one of the things that keeps the series so fresh and fun for me. I love getting to know these different characters and seeing the same situation from different perspectives. Keeping all the timelines and story lines straight is often challenging, however—hence pages of notes, outlines, and story maps.
Your books peek into distinctive aspects of British culture. What interests you in exploring these elements?
I’ve always liked learning about things in the context of a story—it’s one of the many reasons I’m a lifelong Dick Francis fan. He was a master at depicting different jobs and ways of life in detail. The settings in my books are always things I’ve found fascinating, and I’ve usually plunged into them without much foreknowledge. That way, the reader is going on a journey with me.
What’s next for you?
I’ve wanted for a long time to set a book in the Cotswolds, which was one of the areas I fell in love with on my first visit to England. In the next book, I think it would be great fun to put Duncan and Gemma, and fellow officers Doug and Melody, all together, and all working on the same case. A beautiful village in the Cotswolds may be just the thing.