Merrimon Book Reviews

Christ Church, Spitalfields

Hoxton Hall
Photo Credit: KB Thompson

Dennis Severs' House, in Folgate Street, Spitalfields.
Photo credit: K. Thompson

From Merrimon Book Reviews
Necessary As Blood
Necessary as
                                                  Blood by Deborah
by Deborah Crombie


One Sunday, Sandra Gilles, mother and artist, finally find time to work on a fabric art piece, a painting of women paradng in hteir finest, carrying cages filled with not birds but the faces of women and children.  Later, she takes her young daughter Charlotte to a friend at the market and then disappears.   When her Pakistani husband is killed, Scotland Yard detective Gemma James is drawn into the case.  Working together with Duncan Kincaid, Doug Cullen and Melody Talbot, Gemma feels determined to solve the case.  Charlotte's plight haunts her thoughts, driving her forward.  As the case moves forward, danger threatens and Gemma must make the connections if she is to save a child's life.

NECESSARY AS BLOOD may be the thirteenth book in this British inspector series, but if you are new to this author like I am, don't let that stop you from jumping in right here and now!  This book works perfectly as a stand-alone --- but it sure whets the appetite for more. 
NECESSARY AS BLOOD hits that craving for a rich mystery into which a reader can just sink, losing oneself into the story while savoring each detail.  Characterization, imagery, plot, setting and even chapter heading quotations all combine to make NECESSARY AS BLOOD just downright awesome.  From the descriptions of Sandra's artwork to the history of London's East End, Deborah Crombie creates a wonderfully complex world layered between past and present, between the concrete events of the mystery and an emotional, haunting artistic vision that inspires the reader's imagination.  Subplots and individual character stories work together with the main story so that the reader enters into the nuances and fullness of the world within the book.  An illustrated map on the inside covers and free-end pages aids the British mystery lover less familiar with the area.  American author Deborah Crombie does an excellent job in her portrayal of London's East End as a place full of history from Jack the Ripper and the Huguenots to the more avante-garde and the current world where different cultures exert pressure.  Against this richly textured backdrop, Gemma's concern for one small child brings the reader closer to the cost of crime. 

NECESSARY AS BLOOD is a treasure to enjoy not just once but through rereading.  Readers of Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, and Elizabeth George will indeed enjoy Deborah Crombie, not only for the similarities, but also for her own unique voice.  This reader's only sense of disappointment in closing the cover at the last page was the nagging question that remained, "Why did I not discover this amazing series sooner?!"  If you are new to this author, do not hesitate to jump in right here.  NECESSARY AS BLOOD is one of those rare finds -- a true keeper. 

Publisher: William Morrow (October 6, 2009)
Author website

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Merrimon Book Reviews

Custom Search

© Merrimon Crawford  2009  All Rights Reserved