Click here to read reviewer Maryann Miller's take on Now May You Weep.
Author Deborah Crombie was awarded the New York Times Notable Book of the Year for Dreaming of the Bones, and she has been nominated for various mystery awards that feature Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. Kincaid and James are unmarried but are “partners,” and in Crombie’s recent release, Now May You Weep, Kincaid and James are living together. Gemma no longer lives with her married friend, Hazel, who is also a mother and a therapist. Gemma and Kincaid have moved in together, along with Gemma’s son from her first marriage and Kincaid’s child (although paternity is an issue) from his previous marriage.
At the onset of the novel, Gemma and Hazel are on holiday where they are to spend a weekend at a bed-and-breakfast to take a cooking course. While this sounds like an innocuous weekend, it seems that deeper motives underlay the purpose for Hazel’s visit, unbeknownst to Gemma. One of the guests at the bed-and-breakfast is Donald Brodie, a Scottish owner of a distillery and an old flame from Hazel’s younger years. When Hazel and Gemma arrive at their destination, it is clear that Hazel is flustered by Donald’s presence. She is not shocked to see him, but it is clear to Gemma that Donald unnerves Hazel. Clearly, there are still feelings between the two that Donald is intent on exploring – and Hazel is feeling conflicted, despite Gemma’s previous belief that Hazel led the normal and somewhat idyllic life as a well-balance therapist, wife and mother.
Hazel’s visit to Scotland now seems to be more of a homecoming, of sorts, which has invoked various reactions of local townsfolk. Donald Brodie, the distiller, clearly has his eye on Hazel and is seeking a reunion of sorts between them, despite Hazel’s trepidation and status as married woman. A long-standing feud between Brodie’s family and Hazel’s family kept the two apart, and Donald is looking to bury the past and bring Hazel into his future - permanently.
While passion reigns between Donald and Hazel, a sinister turn of events leads to murder and, before the murder is solved, Hazel is simultaneously a murder suspect and potentially a second murder victim. While the Scottish police do not want Gemma involved in the murder investigation, Gemma knows that she must get to the bottom of things and solve the murder – to absolve of guilt and to protect Hazel’s life. Gemma has never thought to question her dear friend Hazel, but she quickly discovers that Hazel has a past that Gemma was unaware of, and it appears that Hazel’s past is linked to solving the murder. As things heat up and danger lurks near, Gemma calls on her trustworthy partner and lover, Duncan Kincaid, to join her in Scotland to help her solve the murder.
While Now May You Weep had a slow start, I slowly but surely was drawn into the intricate cast of characters and murder suspects. Fans of Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series and fans of British police procedurals will enjoy this mystery set in Scotland that entails past love and a long-standing feud between two whiskey distillery families.