I have finished the 73rd book for the book challenge. It was No Mark Upon Her (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James) by Deborah Crombie.
This is part of the series of Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James novels. Rebecca Meredith is a rower. She is also a highly ranked detective for the Metropolitan Police. She is training for the next Olympics, to row in the women’s singles. She takes her scull out on the river one Friday night but does not return.
Her ex-husband, Freddie Atterton, is looking for her. When he can’t find her and her rowing coach Milo can’t locate her, the Search-And-Rescue team is called in. Tavie and her dog Tosh and Kieran and his dog Finn are called in to help. Kieran and Finn come upon Becca’s scull wrecked on the side of the river. It has only one oar and has been damaged. Kieran has a bad feeling about this. He and Finn keep searching. They eventually come across Becca’s body caught in some weeds along the river. Kieran is very upset. Kieran is experiencing PTSD, stemming from his experiences in Iraq. But he also has a secret. He was Becca Meredith’s lover.
Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James have gotten married. Gemma has taken leave and has been staying at home with Charlotte. But now it’s Duncan’s turn to take leave and Gemma will return to work in a few days. But first, Duncan has been assigned to investigate Becca Meredith’s murder.
It is discovered that Becca Meredith was raped by Assistant Police Commissioner Angus Craig and the rape was hushed up. Craig took early retirement. He lives nearby. In fact, Freddie Atterton was supposed to meet Craig on Monday morning but he never showed up for the meeting. Kincaid’s boss, Childs, thinks that Atterton is a perfect suspect, but Kincaid feels that Craig is a good suspect. Gemma tells Duncan that she had a run-in with Craig some years ago and only her mother’s presence and that of her baby drove him off. She and Melody begin investigating other instances of rape of police women by “unknown persons” in Project Sapphire.
Kieran’s home in the boat shed is fire bombed one night and he is lucky to get out alive. He and his dog Finn go to stay with Tavie at her cottage. Someone is trying to kill him. Someone knows he has seen something. Kieran tells Kincaid that he had seen someone in the area where Becca’s body was found. The police find footprints and fibers in the area, as well as Becca’s other oar.
Kincaid puts pressure on Angus Craig. He interviews him at his home and tells him he knows about the rape of Becca Meredith. He also tells him he knows about the purported rapes of other police women. Gemma finds evidence that Craig murdered a police woman that he raped. She also finds the woman who spoke to Becca Meredith the day she died. This woman had also been raped by Craig. Her husband is a good friend of Freddie Atterton. Then Angus Craig kills his wife and sets his home on fire. He then kills himself. Kincaid knows that Craig did not murder Becca Meredith because his alibi holds up. They must look elsewhere.
Gemma goes to visit Chris Abbot, the woman who visited Beccay she was killed. She finds that her husband has taken her gun. Gemma calls Duncan to let him know that Ross Abbot is dangerous. Kieran goes to Becca’s cottage. He looks at a photo of the Oxford rowing team and sees the man he saw in the woods watching Becca. Suddenly, the man comes into the cottage. Finn begins to growl. Finn recognizes him as the man who threw the fire bomb. He has a gun. Kincaid also arrives at the cottage, as does Freddie Atterton. Kieran says that Becca told him about Abbot. How Abbot had made a member of the Oxford rowing team sick so he could take his place, but they lost the race. Becca threatened to tell people about his deception. That’s why Abbot killed her, because he loved to row and couldn’t take the disgrace of being banned. Abbot fires the gun and hits the dog Finn in the shoulder, but it is a flesh wound.
Abbot is taken into custody. Kincaid wraps up the case in time for Gemma to return to work. In fact, she is offered a temporary promotion. And Duncan gets to stay home for a while.
This was a great mystery story. It was complicated, but you could follow it. The Angus Craig connection was interesting, but it turned out that it wasn’t the motive for murder, as much as Gemma wanted it to be. Who knew that someone’s obsession with rowing could cause a person to commit murder? This was not revealed until the very end of the book. A very good ending.