This is one of the earlier books in the Duncan and James series. The duo are still grappling with issues in their personal lives, their relationship still fresh and new to bear the brunt of distractions and priorities.
Crombie has such interesting characters in Kincaid and James both single parents, both producing great results as a team.
The body of a beautiful woman is found on an estate. However, when someone reports her missing, the trail takes them to a famous tea makers - Hammonds. James and Kincaid together with the local inspector Janice Coppins get inside the world of tea blending, its exotic flavours and its painful connection to the World War II.
- Loved the tea company setting. James does a great job of setting the story in the backdrop of a company, embellishing it with details that is fascinating and shows off her good research.
- Loved the parallel narrative. I remember the use of the device in another of her later novels and love the way she uses it. However, the world war narrative was a bit disorientating in the beginning, almost boring at times, but then it makes more sense as the story moves on and finally blends into the present.
- The suspense was a bit predictable but the run up to it was not. It built the suspense well, while throwing light on different suspects before zooming on THE ONE.
- The characters are great. The jealous, posh lover, the loyal, insecure assistant, the underrated sibling and the doting, secretive father are great personas.
- Too much detail in the world war story. To me, it sort of weighed down the pace an felt a bit unnecessary.
But then it is always great to see how there is always more, to a whodunnit. The personal lives of the protagnists as they move on from one case to the next keeps on evolving, making for a very interesting side plot.