Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Deborah Crombie and The Sound of Broken Glass

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Deborah Crombie here today as part of her Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tour for her release, THE SOUND OF BROKEN GLASS.

Deborah has graciously answered some questions about her book and her writing. This is an intriguing 384-page mystery (ISBN: 978-0061990649) that has just been reprinted in paperback by William Morrow. It can be purchased at the following links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.
Here’s a brief synopsis:
      In the past. . .home to the tragically destroyed Great Exhibition, a solitary thirteen-year-old boy meets his next-door neighbor, a recently widowed young teacher hoping to make a new start in the tight-knit South London community. Drawn together by loneliness, the unlikely pair forms a deep connection that ends in a shattering act of betrayal.
      In the present . . . On a cold January morning in London, Detective Inspector Gemma James is back on the job while her husband, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, is at home caring for their three-year-old foster daughter. Assigned to lead a Murder Investigation Team in South London, she's assisted by her trusted colleague, newly promoted Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot. Their first case: a crime scene at a seedy hotel in Crystal Palace. The victim: a well-respected barrister, found naked, trussed, and apparently strangled.

      Is it an unsavory accident or murder? In either case, he was not alone, and Gemma's team must find his companion—a search that takes them into unexpected corners and forces them to contemplate unsettling truths about the weaknesses and passions that lead to murder. Ultimately, they will question everything they think they know about their world and those they trust most.

Please help me welcome Deborah to Thoughts in Progress as she tells us a bit about this tantalizing story.

Mason - THE SOUND OF BROKEN GLASS is the 15th installment in your Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novels. How has the publishing industry changed since the first book in this series was printed?

Well, of course there has been the digital revolution and all the panic that has ensued over the death of “real” books, etc. But in my experience, the publishing industry has always been in a panic. When I sold my first book it was “the mid-list is dying.” Did that actually happen? I don’t know. There are lot of books being published now that I would say are “mid-list.” What I see is that things are always evolving, and that people will keep reading, no matter the format. There are more books published now than ever, and more ways for determined writers to get their work to the public. The sky is NOT falling. Nor, I think, is it likely to.

Mason - Looking back over the series, what has been the most surprising thing you’ve discovered?

I’m not sure I could pick just one! I didn’t know that Duncan and Gemma would have a romantic relationship. I didn’t know that Duncan had a son—or that his son would come to live with him. I didn’t know that Duncan and Gemma would (eventually) get married. And I certainly didn’t foresee a little girl named Charlotte Malik coming into their lives…

Mason - What can you tell us about your main characters Kincaid and James that we won’t discover in the pages of their adventures?

Hmm. The books are very slice-of-life, Sound of Broken Glass coverand we get both their viewpoints very intimately. Maybe we don’t know that Duncan isn’t very good at sports and doesn’t really care about watching football (soccer.) And that it worries Gemma that she can’t imagine what she would do if she weren’t a police officer.

Mason - Living part-time in Texas, what is the hardest part of writing a novel set in England?
Getting to England often enough! I have to have that first-hand sense of place. And then there is checking up on things once I’m back in Texas and really engaged in the story. I have to say that the last few years the Internet has a made a huge difference, especially Google Maps and Google Earth. Not that I haven’t always used maps, but now I can actually pull up a particular street and see if there was a dry cleaners or a mini-cab company next to the fried chicken shop! Or if the street is one way! 

Mason - Have you ever considered having Kincaid and James work a case that takes them to Texas?
Not really. Readers expect a British mystery and I wouldn’t want to disappoint them. And I can’t imagine what sort of case would bring them to Texas—I had to make it a busman’s holiday to get them to Scotland! I thought in THE SOUND OF BROKEN GLASS that either Duncan or Gemma might have to go to France to follow up a clue (a good excuse for me to go to Paris) but I just couldn’t work it in. 

P.S. I have had one character from Texas, the café owner, Buddy, in A FINER END. Maybe I’ll get another Texan in a book someday.

Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?

The 16th Kincaid/James, TO DWELL IN DARKNESS, is out this coming September (the 23rd). Gemma will be working a case in Brixton, but the primary focus is Duncan’s investigation of a fiery death in St. Pancras International Railway Station. And book #17 is already germinating, although it has no title as yet.

Deborah, thanks so much for joining us today and sharing this look at the lives of Gemma and Duncan. I enjoy the way you incorporate their lives into their work. It makes them so realistic.

For those who aren’t familiar with Deborah, here’s a bit of background on her.

Deborah is a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds. 

For more on Deborah and her writing, visit her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter

You can read and excerpt from THE SOUND OF BROKEN GLASS here.

To learn more about Deborah and this fascinating story, you can also follow her virtual blog tour by visiting the other participating blogs below.
2/25 ~ Review @ My Readers Block
2/26 ~ Review @ Deal Sharing Aunt
2/27 ~ The Reading Frenzy
2/28 ~ Review by Carol Wong
3/03 ~ Review @ Celtic Lady Reviews
3/04 ~ Review @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
3/05 ~ Review @ Deco My Heart
3/07 ~ Review @ A Bookish Girl
3/13 ~ Review @ Melinas Book Blog
3/17 ~ Review @ Marys Cup of Tea
3/18 ~ Interview @ Writers and Authors
3/18 ~ Review @ Tales of a Book Addict
3/19 ~ Review @ Vics Media Room
3/20 ~ Review @ Views from the Countryside
3/26 ~ Review @ Lazy Day Books
3/28 ~ Review @ Book Dilettante 

I’d like to re-share my review I posted last year after listening to the audio version of THE SOUND OF BROKEN GLASS.

One of the joys of reading is being transported to places you couldn’t visit otherwise. Author Deborah Crombie excels in placing her readers smack-dab in the middle of London with her Kincaid/James series.

Crombie’s latest release, The Sound of Broken Glass, is the 15th installment in the series and can be read alone. However, don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking for prior stories involving the pair and the cases they’ve investigated.

Narrator Gerald Doyle does an excellent job bringing the characters to life with his distinct British accent. He gives each their own unique voice making it hard to believe there’s only one narrator. His cadence gives great emphases to the emotions portrayed throughout the story.

Detective Inspector Gemma James and Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot are called to a murder scene at a seedy hotel in Crystal Palace in South London. A well-respected barrister has been found dead, naked and tied to the bed. Their investigation leads them to a local pub where the victim was last seen. As they learn more, the investigation expands and leads Melody to cross a line of conduct involving a sexy guitarist. 

Meanwhile, Gemma’s husband, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, has taken personal leave from work. He is caring for the couple’s children, especially their foster daughter, 3-year-old Charlotte, who is having problems adjusting since her parents were murdered.

The story is beautifully woven between events in the past and present bringing the elements full circle. The lead characters are well-developed and very likable. The secondary characters add their own flare to the story.

Crombie combines the elements of 2 mysterious murders with the daily home life of her characters. By blending the two, she makes the characters realistic in their pursuit of family and career.

An eye for detail, Crombie’s descriptions of the setting adds to the story. Each chapter also begins with a bit of history concerning Crystal Palace making it as much a character in the story as the people. Crombie’s way with the words and phrases of London makes it difficult to believe it’s not the author’s home instead of McKinney, Texas.

The Sound of Broken Glass moves at a steady pace. It has its moments of humor, suspense, romance, and family. The twists will keep you guessing who the real killer is until the end. Even though these murders are solved, Crombie opens the door for the next installment in this series leaving fans eagerly awaiting the next case.

While I still haven’t figured out how the title ties in with the story, it is a book I highly recommend. The story is mesmerizing as it flows back and forth. The suspense will hold you captive while you waver between suspects. 

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie, A Kincaid/James Novel, Performed by Gerald Doyle, Harper Audio, @2013, ASIN: B00B29PRGK, Unabridged, Digital Download, Listening Time: 11 Hours 37 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

I so appreciate you stopping by today. Have you read (or listened to) any of the Kincaid/James series? When reading a mystery or police procedure, do you like learning about the investigator’s home life too?


  1. Deborah, thanks again for joining us. You may live in Texas, but you definitely place your readers in England. Wishing you much success and looking forward to your next release.

  2. I bet Google Earth and Maps have helped. Although nothing beats first hand experience. (England is just so big! So much to see.)
    Fifteen books? Well done, Deborah!

  3. What a terrific interview! Thanks so much for sharing your conversation with this author with us.

  4. Mason - Thanks for hosting Deborah.

    Deborah - Thanks for sharing some of your insights. I know exactly what you mean about needing to be in a place to really get/keep a sense of it. Your Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series is excellent, and I wish you much continued success.

  5. Mason, thanks for having me, and thanks so much for re-posting your review of the audio version of the book. I LOVE Gerard Doyle's narration! He won an Audie (as Michael Deehy) for his reading of an earlier book, IN A DARK HOUSE. And one of the most interesting things to me is that, as a male narrator, he reads Gemma just the way she sounds in my head. Great talent!

  6. Very enjoyable interview, Mason! A diehard anglophile, always enjoy hearing from Deborah, a Texan writing so delightfully in an English setting. It's a great story...



I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.