Wednesday, August 7, 2013

NOW MAY YOU WEEP by Deborah Crombie

 …And, exiled son of
Scotland, it is thine.

Far have you wandered
Over seas of longing,

And now you drowse, and
Now you well may weep,

When all the recollections
Come a-throwing,

Of this rude country
Where your fathers sleep.

   (From Neil Munro, “To Exiles,” the epigraph to Debroah Crombie’s Now May You Weep.) 

In Deborah Crombie’s Now May You Weep two violent deaths converge.

One occurred in the late 1890’s and the other in the present day.

Both have to do with the ownership of historically prominent but now struggling whiskey distilleries in the Scottish highlands.

And Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Gemma James finds herself investigating the present-day murder looking from the outside in.

Gemma has no authority in the Scottish highlands. The Inspector in charge is not about to let Gemma take over the investigation. He won’t even share information. Gemma was staying at the inn when the murder occurred. She is theoretically a suspect.

This book is setting-driven and family history-driven. It ends with a surprising irony.

Not only does the history of this part of the Scottish highlands play a part, but also the history of the distilleries themselves.

I’d call this an excellent, slowly-unfolding story. This book is for people looking to be enmeshed in the details of the highlands and of these families. (Family and small town inter-family struggles can be the most murderous kind.)

Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid (her Scotland Yard Superintendent lover) face personal family difficulties too. Only their love for one another gets them through.

I’d say this is a stellar example of a mystery story of a particular kind. If you are a patient reader who likes to watch an excellently-told, long, involved story unfold, you should love Now May You Weep.


“Kit, no test, no configuration of molecules, can take your past away from you. That experience will always be a part of you, no matter what happens in the future, no matter where you live, or how many times Ian gets married. Those layers of living build up like a pearl in an oyster—you can’t just slice them away…although sometimes it might be easier if people could.”


Kelly Robinson said...

I haven't read any Deborah Crombie, but my GoodReads recommendations seem to think she's right up my alley. I'll get to it someday, perhaps.

Joe Barone said...

Kelly, I tried to describe this book in a fair way which would help people top know if they would like it. It is an excellent book.