I've long been a fan of Deborah Crombie's mysteries and was delighted to come across The Sound of Broken Glass. Although living in Texas, Ms. Crombie sets her novels in London and this one brought with it a little nostalgia for me. It is set in the Crystal Palace area where I grew up and spent many childhood days wandering around the Crystal Palace Park with its distorted statues of dinosaurs and once the site of the Great Exhibition building designed by Joseph Paxton. The Crystal Palace, named for its steel structure and glass, had housed the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park and was rebuilt in an area of Sydenham, London. Unfortunately it was destroyed by fire in 1936 and my mother remembered pieces of molten glass hurtling into windows of the house she lived in as a child, not far from the park. You can read more about the history here.
The Sound of Broken Glass follows the investigation of a murdered barrister. The investigation is headed by Inspector Gemma James. But that isn't the only mystery of the story. In the past a solitary thirteen year old boy meets his next door neighbor. . . Drawn together by loneliness, the unlikely pair forms a deep connection that ends in a shattering act of betrayal.
I love Deborah Crombie's style of writing and she uses language and descriptions to set us in the London streets. Her mysteries not only draw the reader in, but the personal life of Gemma James and her husband Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid also bonds us with the characters. I haven't read all of this series and need to go back and read some of the prior novels. The only thing that I wondered about was Charlotte's background and how Gemma and Duncan came to be foster parents to the child. Other than that, I don't think you necessarily need to read these in order. This is another one to go on my favorites list for 2013.
Ironically, I ended up in an area where there is a Crystal Palace replica - The Infomart in Dallas.