Monday, February 18, 2013

TLC Book Review - No Mark Upon Her

No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie
HarperCollins, 2011

Format? paperback
Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
FTC Disclosure - I received a complimentary copy of No Mark Upon Her from the publisher in exchange for a review. However, the following review and the opinions therein are all my own and offered without bias.

Title? I'm sure there's some obvious connection I don't get...but I don't get it :( But, remember I didn't notice the salad face on the cover of Sad Desk Salad until Jenners pointed it out to me :/

Cover? Foggy, wet wooded setting sets the mood for the scene of the crime as well as the rowers practicing on the Thames

Why?  I like these Scotland Yard detective serials...and the kicker for me in this particular installment is the two rescue K9s, Finn and Tosh :) 

What Now? I'm really excited about reading the other books in this series; I've already downloaded #1 A Share in Death to my Kindle :)

Golden Lines

He'd had no interest in rowing from a club, or competing again.  He rowed for sanity now, not sport. (27)

That fat, black, wriggly puppy had, in the two years since, given Kieran a reason to get up in the morning.  Finn was more than a companion, he was Kieran's partner, and that union had given Kieran something he'd thought gone from his life - a useful job. (28)

"Ross, I have to - I have to go to the morgue today.  To identify her.  Will you go with me?" (107)

He didn't like being pushed.  But he also knew how dangerous it was to jump to conclusions so early in a case, and he wasn't going to let someone else's agenda drive his investigation. (121)

Low areas collect scent, just as they do water.  As with looping, a scent pool may produce an alert that the dog cannot work to its source because of shifting winds.  These alerts must be marked on both the handler's and the Control maps.
-American Rescue Dog Association
Search and Rescue Dogs:
Training the K9 Hero (162)

Tavie sank down on the edge of the sofa.  Immediately, Tosh came over and rested her head on Tavie's knee, looking up at her with her dark shepherd brows drawn in a V. She, too, seemed unsettled by the change in their household routine.  (167)

If he had any sense, he would walk away from this case now. (220)

It was such a cliche', Kincaid thought as he gazed at the village, trying to distance himself from the rage that was still causing his hands to shake.  A place of perfection, with a monster dwelling at its heart. (237)

"Four?" Gemma's stomach plummeted.  "Shit." She looked at her partner. "Four, Melody.  He's four.  And we're blinking idiots." (335)


Scotland Yard detectives, Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid, are newly married and trying to make their family lives meld while they try to solve the mysterious death of super talented rower Becca Meredith.  Meredith herself was also a detective which makes the case that much more personal for the entire force.  However, Becca had a secret they couldn't have imagined with far greater consequences for the killer and Scotland Yard itself.

What I Liked

These folks drink a lot of tea...which makes me crave tea while I'm reading :)  It just make the reading experience all that much more warm and cozy.

Tosh and Finn - this is a no-brainer.  To top off my love of dogs, and specifically working dogs, and even more specifically German Shepherds (Tosh is a GSD), Crombie weaves in specifics about how the dogs are used in Search and Rescue operations.  The book is not about Search and Rescue teams...but the teams play a big part in pulling all the pieces together and then finally solving the crime..

No Mark Upon Her is the 14th book in the James and Kincaid mystery series...but I never felt left out. It was obvious to me that there was a history and that there were more stories to be read, but Crombie does a great job of keeping a new reader in the loop without too much monotony that takes away from the main plotline.

I'm not a rower, have never known any rowers, and know absolutely nothing about the sport, but Crombie uses the tradition as well as the sporting aspects so fluently in the story that it was almost as interesting to me as the parts about Search & Rescue.  Very interesting to me were the parts about how their bodies respond and react to the physical exertion and grueling training rituals.  Rowers seem to be as dedicated as Olympic athletes...even those who simply play in a community league.

What I Didn't Like

Kieran's vertigo issue seemed a little crazy...not that he has vertigo but that he was able to hide it enough to be on the Search teams...even though Crombie does divulge that little tidbit later on in the story when Tavie finds out.

There were a few times when Gemma and Kincaid's children's activities, which had nothing to do with the case in any way, seemed a little out of place...but I realize I would probably be more enamored with the characters if I had started the series from the beginning.

Overall Recommendation

If, like me, you like a good detective serial, especially one that takes place in London and involves Scotland Yard, I think you'll appreciate this pair.

The Author

Deborah Crombie

Other Stops on the Tour
Tuesday, February 12th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Wednesday, February 13th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, February 14th: Book Hooked Blog
Monday, February 18th: Peppermint PhD
Tuesday, February 19th: A Musing Reviews
Wednesday, February 20th: Lavish Bookshelf
Thursday, February 21st: Paperback Princess
Tuesday, February 26th: Between the Covers
Wednesday, February 27th: Seaside Book Corner
Thursday, February 28th: Michelle and Leslie’s Book Picks
Monday, March 4th: Short and Sweet Reviews
Tuesday, March 5th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Wednesday, March 6th: 5 Minutes for Books


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Yeah, I have heard about this series, and it sounds good. But I am a little wacky about starting from the beginning and that is a daunting number of books to read! I've got this series (and a few dozen other) marked down as a project.

    1. I'm pretty OCD about starting from the beginning and then have read several in a row from somewhere in the middle accidentally. I love to just read one after the other over a couple of weeks...maybe this summer :)

  3. You have a spammer. You might want to go to comment moderation. It's what I do. I hate spammers. You can also block anonymous comments. I did this too after a bit. It did end up blocking some honest commenters but the spam got to heavy.

    How did she die? With "no mark upon her?" heh

    1. I almost emailed you, Patty to ask you about the comment moderation. I'm glad you commented :)

      Why is it the obvious things that stump me? Doh!

  4. ah you had me at the dogs! this one sounds like a lot of fun! i haven't ever heard of this author but will definitely check the books out ~ do you know if its better to start with the first one or can i jump in at any time?

    1. This was my first one, Stacy...even though I'm usually a stickler for starting at the beginning. I never felt left out of the story though. I want to read the others but just bc I think it's a good series, not bc I missed anything.

  5. This is most definitely my kind of book. Glad to see you enjoyed it!

    Thanks for being on the tour.