Book Review: In a Dark House, by Deborah Crombie

In a Dark House The Snapshot Review

What I Liked: Complex plot with lots of twists, and great series characters.

First Line: It took no more than a match, nestled beneath the crumpled paper and foil crisp packets.

Ms. Bookish’s Very Quick Take: An intricate mystery that’s difficult to put down, In a Dark House is well worth the read.

The Full Review of In a Dark House

Last summer I had read and enjoyed the first in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series, A Share in Death, and then life and other books got in the way and I forgot my plan to look up more of Kincaid and James’ doings. Recently, though, I came across some reviews of other books  in this series by Deborah Crombie, and they all looked like such good reads, I decided to add them to my list for this year.

I’m so very glad that I did – while A Share in Death was a good little mystery, it’s obvious in reading In a Dark House that Crombie has developed her characters and her plotlines much further. In a Dark House is an intricate, richly characterized mystery that reminds me of mysteries by Elizabeth George, P.D. James and Reginald Hill.

In In a Dark House, firefighters find the charred body of a woman in the aftermath of a fire at an abandoned warehouse. Who is she? And was the fire started deliberately? As the investigation evolves, Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Detective Inspector Gemma James find themselves looking into the lives of four different women, each of whom could be the victim in the warehouse, as well as investigating the abduction of a little girl whose parents are involved in a particularly bitter and angry divorce.

The mystery is complex and grabbed me immediately. There are lots of lovely twists along the way, and several plot lines merge nicely towards the end of the novel. Kincaid and James are both richly developed characters, and their relationship with each other is as involving as the mystery itself. Several of the secondary characters are particularly appealing, especially firefighter Rose Kearny, who’s very eager to become a fire investigator.

I found this a difficult book to put down. It’s the type of mystery I enjoy most: rich characterization combined with a plot that is layer on layer of intricacy. If In a Dark House comes your way, settle yourself comfortably for the night; you’re in for a very enjoyable evening. Ms. Bookish’s Rating: Wonderful ?

Related Links

Deborah Crombie’s website

For those who like to read a series in order, here’s the order in which the Kincaid/James books were published.

Where to buy:

U.S. (

Canada (Chapters)

UK (

Title: In a Dark House
Author: Deborah Crombie
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Mystery
Format and length: Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published: 2004

4 thoughts on “Book Review: In a Dark House, by Deborah Crombie

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