The 18th entry of Crombie's series about Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James pulls the Scotland Yard detectives into a dangerous web of secrets, lies, and murder buried beneath the surface of a picturesque village.
To say that Deborah Crombie's most recent book, A Bitter Feast, is a page-turner would be an understatement ... Crombie lays before the reader a maze with stops and starts at every turn. Her writing style invests in every character as she designs scenes full of detail from that character's point of view. She details information in brief scenes that lead the reader out of the dead-end maze only to make another turn and wait for the next crumb of information ... Plan a full weekend of tea and scones because this one is not to be put down.
Crombie tak[es] full advantage of the staples of crime fiction—loud quarrels, illicit sex, blackmail, threats of violence and backstories that reveal people to be not exactly what they appear to be. And the novel gives readers insight into the high-pressure world of restaurants. At times, the large cast of characters in A Bitter Feast...may become a little difficult to keep track of. But the mystery resolves itself in a satisfactory manner, and fans of Kincaid and James will appreciate how the family’s story moves ahead. In all, Crombie weaves an intricate tale that readers will wonder about and savor—just as much as they would truly enjoy a legendary meal from O’Reilly’s kitchen. Far from being bitter, this feast goes down very well indeed.
I encourage a deep dive into A Bitter Feast, even if detective fiction isn’t your typical fare. A feast awaits, and it’s hardly a bitter one ... One of the joys in reading Crombie is relishing the witty details in the hunt for clues ... to dismiss Crombie or detective fiction as anything less than literature obscures the fact that literature can be entertaining despite what you may have been forced to endure in middle-school English ... Crombie fans old and new will rejoice.