Crombie's newest crime novel has it all—great characters, a rich plot, graceful writing and dramatic, tense scenes. The result is a fantastic read.

In a Dark House continues the story of Scotland Yard detectives and lovers Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. Kincaid is investigating a fire in a Victorian warehouse owned by a prominent Member of Parliament. A woman's body is found in the ashes, so the case could involve murder as well as arson. Meanwhile, Gemma's friend Winnie asks for her help when the roommate of a friend goes missing.

Both cases escalate quickly, with more fires, more missing persons and the kidnapping of a child. And when a crisis on the home front threatens to tear their family apart, Kincaid and James' emotional resources are put to an extreme test.

The character-driven plot doesn't stop with Kincaid and James. Even the secondary characters are fully developed, and their stories are equally important to the book. Crombie shows that she's a master of action as well.

Her descriptions of the fires and the firefighters' work are frightening in their detail. This novel of physical and emotional challenges succeeds at all levels. It is, in short, superb. (Oct., 384 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jo Peters