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Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Finer End: Review


A Finer End by Deborah Crombie begins in Glastonbury. Glastonbury is known as the site of an ancient abbey and is the mythical burial place of King Arthur and Guinevere. The Tor is believed to be a source of druidic powers and a focus for those who believe in goddess worship. Strange forces seem to be swirling around the ancient city and Inspector Duncan Kincaid's cousin Jack is at the center of it all.

Jack, a down-to-earth architect finds himself experiencing episodes of what seems to be automatic writing. Latin messages flow from his hand unprompted--purported to be from a monk by the name of Edward who lived over a thousand years ago. Edward seems to have an urgent message on his mind. Something do with a terrible and bloody moment in the abbey's history. Something very special and sacred is missing and Jack--and those in the town who believe in the spiritual power of the place and Jack's message--must discover what it is and recover it so Edward's spirit can rest.

But Jack isn't the only one experiencing promptings from beyond. Fiona, a local artist, paints in a trance-like state. Paintings that feature violent images and one child over and over again. But are these really messages from past--or is there a very modern force at work? Tensions mount and it isn't until Jack's love, Winnie, nearly dies from a hit-and-run accident and another woman is murdered that Kincaid and Inspector Gemma James get involved. Ostensibly, Duncan and Gemma are on holiday and on an errand of mercy to lend support to Jack and Winnie. But the detective team can't resist helping the local law enforcement--especially when it seems that the local inspector is determined to lock up an innocent man. Clues both past and present come together with a grand finale on the storm-swept side of the Tor.

There's no denying that Deborah Crombie can write. Her stories are always elegant and lyrical. The descriptions of both people and place--especially place--are lovely. The mystery is intricate--although I was able to get at least part of it right fairly early. I do question the whole mystical side of things though. And the answer to that mystery was just a little too pat....not sure I'm believing that the secret would have survived all that time. Still, a well-told tale and worth a good three and a half stars.

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