With Duncan at home on family leave doing the domestic heavy lifting with their blended family, Gemma is the one who is front and center investigating this newest case.
She and Melody are called to the Crystal Palace area of London where a well respected, even somewhat stuffy barrister is found tied up in what appears to be S&M gone wrong in a seedy motel. The only lead they have is that he had words with a guitarist in a pub the previous night.
A second murder of another barrister in the same manner however seems to have no connection with the first. Except of course the Crystal Palace locale.
As is the m.o. with previous books in the series there are critical flashbacks from in the past which we come to learn that have a direct bearing on the crime. There are also nice little monographs of the Crystal Palace, it's significance in London's history and how it burned down in the 30s that head each chapter.
I liked this installment a bit better than the previous one. A hallmark of this series is how Gemma & Duncan's personal life inform their professional life & vice versa. They are intricately entwined. In some installments, the domestic drama has sometimes eclipsed the mystery -- sometimes with satisfactory results and at others, not so good results. In this one, I think the author has balanced the two very well.
While Duncan is totally on board with doing the stay-at-home dad leave, he is still chafing at the bit to get back to work. But Charlotte's (his and Gemma's adopted daughter) adjustment is still an iffy thing and he needs to resolve that. But he does manage to do a little bit of police work as his seemingly un-related domestic adventures actually result in a less-than-six degrees of separation between him and Gemma's case, so Duncan is able to lend some assistance on the down-low.
The pacing is quite solid, with the story unfolding somewhat leisurely only to take on more urgency and ramp up quite nicely as it gets toward the end.
The author ended the book on an intriguing note that has me already looking forward to what the next installment will bring.
Great installment and I am seriously enjoying this series.ARC provided courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program