When Scotland Yard superintendent Duncan Kincaid takes Gemma, Kit, and Toby for a holiday visit to his family in Cheshire, Gemma is soon entranced with Nantwich's pretty buildings and the historic winding canal, and young Kit is instantly smitten with his cousin Lally. But their visit is marred by family tensions exacerbated by the unraveling of Duncan's sister Juliet's marriage. And tensions are brought to the breaking point on Christmas Eve with Juliet's discovery of a mummified infant's body interred in the wall of an old dairy barn-a tragedy hauntingly echoed by the recent drowning of Peter Llewellyn, a schoolmate of Lally's. Meanwhile, on her narrowboat, former social worker Annie Lebow is living a life of self-imposed isolation and preparing for a lonely Christmas, made more troubling by her meeting earlier in the day with the Wains, a traditional boating family whose case precipitated Annie's leaving her job. As the police make their inquiries into the infant's death, Kincaid discovers that life in the lovely market town of his childhood is far from idyllic and that the dreaming reaches of the Shropshire Union Canal hold dark and deadly secrets...?ecrets that may threaten everything and everyone he holds most dear.
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by Deborah Crombie
"Crombie's eleventh mystery is set in Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Duncan Kincaid's hometown of Nantwich, "in the wilds of Chesire." The story is told from the point of view of his life partner Gemma James, who also works for the Yard. Traveling with their blended family to spend Christmas with Kincaid's parents, they find themselves entangled in murdersâ historic and current. Michael Deehy deftly moves from London accents to the tones of quarrelsome teens and country squire snobs. Best of all are his depictions of the canal people who live on barges along England's internal waterways. Old accusations and recent crimes generate threats against the canal families and the Kincaids--impelling the two detectives into action. D.P.D. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine"
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