A Bitter Feast: A Novel (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels #18) (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Fans of Louise Penny, Martin Walker, and Donna Leon will find much to enjoy in Deborah Crombie’s fine series featuring Detective Inspector Gemma James and Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid.  A nice juicy mystery is always enhanced in this series by the caring of this couple for their family. 

Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot has hesitated to invite her fellow detectives into her personal life, fearful they would regard her differently if they realized her family’s wealth and social standing. Her mother, Lady Adelaide, is putting on a charity luncheon in their Cotswold home to be catered by Viv Holland, the talented chef at the local pub.  Melody puts aside her reticence and invites her boss, Gemma, along with her family to spend the weekend.  

Gemma, her four-year-old daughter Charlotte, and Melody drive down together arriving first to be greeted by their hosts and two enthusiastic dogs.  Duncan was following closely behind, then the boys, Toby and Kit, would come the next day with family friend Doug Cullen.  But Duncan doesn’t arrive as expected.  He shows up hours late, explaining he was involved in a car accident, both occupants of the other vehicle perish. From there things get complicated.  There is something dodgy about one of the bodies in the other car.  Soon after another death occurs. 

Duncan and Gemma pitch in to help the local detective solve the murders.  Great rural setting, an adorable Border Collie, and likeable characters.  Gemma and Duncan’s son Kit is thrilled to help Viv in the kitchen, assisting a real chef fuels his interest in cooking, cool kid.

This is one of those series where you look forward to every entry because the characters come to feel like good friends.

— Deon Stonehouse


"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?

About the Author

Deborah Crombie is a New York Times bestselling author and a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She now lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.

Praise For…

“We can always count on her for fabulous plots...But what puts Deborah Crombie among the greats is her sure hand in raising her characters off the page.”
— Louise Penny, New York Times bestselling author

“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

A Bitter Feast is a rich banquet for mystery lovers. Three cheers for the chef, Deborah Crombie!”

— Alan Bradley, New York Times bestselling author

"Deborah Crombie continues to push the envelope, writing books that are new, different and better and better. Richly layered, character-driven, and with an evocative sense of place, A Bitter Feast truly transcends the genre." 
— Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of the Royal Spyness series and the international bestseller The Tuscan Child

“It’s another stellar installment in the British mystery series that’s as much about characters as it is about crime.”
— Parade

“This character-driven series just continues to get better.”
Booklist (starred review)

"To say that A Bitter Feast is a page-turner would be an understatement. Plan a full weekend of tea and scones because this one is not to be put down."
New York Journal of Books

“Crombie keeps this series on its toes with her smooth procedural techniques and engagingly eccentric characters.”
New York Times Book Review

"A Bitter Feast is a tour de force by Deborah Crombie."
— CriminalElement.com

"Crombie fans and cozy aficionados will be well pleased."
Publishers Weekly
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062271662
ISBN-10: 0062271660
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019
Pages: 384
Language: English
Series: Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels