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A bitter feast : a novel
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"Crombie's characters are rich, emotionally textured, fully human. They are the remarkable creations of a remarkable writer."--Louise Penny

"Nobody writes the modern English mystery the way Deborah Crombie does--and A Bitter Feast is the latest in a series that is gripping, enthralling, and just plain the best." -- Charles Todd, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Ascot and A Cruel Deception

New York Times bestselling author Deborah Crombie returns with a mesmerizing entry in her "excellent" (Miami Herald) series, in which Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are pulled into a dangerous web of secrets, lies, and murder that simmers beneath the surface of a tranquil Cotswolds village.

Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, have been invited for a relaxing weekend in the Cotswolds, one of Britain's most enchanting regions, famous for its rolling hills, golden cottages, and picturesque villages.

Duncan, Gemma, and their children are guests at Beck House, the family estate of Melody Talbot, Gemma's detective sergeant. The Talbot family is wealthy, prominent, and powerful--Melody's father is the publisher of one of London's largest and most influential newspapers. The centerpiece of this glorious fall getaway is a posh charity harvest luncheon catered by up-and-coming chef Viv Holland. After fifteen years in London's cut-throat food scene, Viv has returned to the Gloucestershire valleys of her childhood and quickly made a name for herself with her innovative meals based on traditional cuisine but using fresh local ingredients. Attended by the local well-to-do as well as national press food bloggers and restaurant critics, the event could make Viv a star.

But a tragic car accident and a series of mysterious deaths rock the estate and pull Duncan and Gemma into the investigation. It soon becomes clear that the killer has a connection with Viv's pub--or, perhaps, with Beck House itself.

Does the truth lie in the past? Or is it closer to home, tied up in the tangled relationships and bitter resentments between the staff at Beck House and Viv's new pub? Or is it more personal, entwined with secrets hidden by Viv and those closest to her?

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Booklist Review
A weekend in the country turns into more work than play for Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. Melody Talbot, Gemma's detective sergeant, invites the couple and their three children to the Cotswolds estate of her parents, Sir Ivan and Lady Adelaide Talbot, on the occasion of an upscale charity luncheon to be catered by local chef Viv Holland. Things go awry from the start when Duncan, traveling to the Talbots' alone in the family car, is hit broadside, and the other driver dies as the slightly injured Duncan holds her hand. But attention centers on the passenger in that car, identified as former London celebrity chef Fergus O'Reilly, who's found to have died before the crash. So, what was intended to be a relaxing sojourn turns into a murder investigation. As the detectives pitch in to help at the luncheon and confer with local authorities, another person close to Viv becomes a victim, and the history between the chefs is gradually revealed. The eighteenth entry in this best-selling series is notable for its portrayals of Duncan and Gemma's children (especially the oldest, Kit), and for the addition of food as an item of interest, a factor that will extend the appeal from the series' procedural-loving fan base to the foodie mystery crowd. This character-driven series just continues to get better.--Michele Leber Copyright 2010 Booklist
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