Tag Archives: scull

Row Your Boat

scullI read a review of Deborah Crombie’s “No Mark Upon Her,” and immediately ordered it for my daughter, and then read it myself.  The mystery centers around the murder of an Olympic caliber rower, who is found dead on the Thames after going out one evening in her single scull.  My daughter is a college rower and the “crew culture” is an interesting phenomenon; I was wondering how Crombie would capture it in her work.  The verdict–she did an excellent job not only illustrating the cultish devotion of rowers to the sport and their clubs, in this case the prestigious Leander Club, but also made the world of the small villages where the story is set come alive.  According to the author’s bio, she is a native Texan, who has lived in both England and Scotland…and that surprised me.  The story, set in the area of Henley-on-Thames, seems to be an area with which she is comfortable and very familiar.  Her characters are real and fully formed–none are just place holders necessary to advance the plot.  I especially liked the character Kieran Connolly, an Iraqi war vet with PTSD, who was trying to put his life back together by refurbishing boats and working with his dog, Finn, on a search and rescue team.  The plot is involved and keeps even the most astute mystery reader guessing to the end.  If you like British mysteries, quirky characters, and a setting which makes you want to visit there, Crombie’s work is for you.  My one, tiny criticism is one I have mentioned before: since she has introduced her main characters in previous works and developed a whole back story for them, I was a bit lost and bogged down at the very beginning, because I was unfamiliar with them.  If you feel the same, just keep going, it’s worth it…or, as they say on my daughter’s  crew team: “Keep calm and row on!”

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