Becca Meredith heads out one evening for a training row on the river at Henley. Becca had been an Olympic contender years before but lost her chance & is now weighing up the idea of trying one last time for a spot on the Olympic team. After a few words with her former coach, Milo Jachym, Becca pushes off & doesn’t return. Her disappearance is reported by her ex-husband, Freddie Atterton. They had stayed friends after their divorce & Freddie begins to worry when he can’t readch her on the phone & her cottage seems deserted. Becca’s disappearance becomes a high profile case because she’s DCI Rebecca Meredith of the Met. Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate & soon after, Becca’s body is found in the river with her rowing shell nearby. It looks as though her shell was tipped over & she drowned after knocking her head.
Duncan has just married his long time partner, Gemma James, also a police officer, & he’s about to go on leave so the summons to work is not welcome. Becca’s murder looks like being politically sensitive but Duncan is surprised when he feels that his superior officers are trying to pin the murder on her ex-husband. Freddie’s business is in trouble & Becca had never updated her will after their divorce so he’s the main beneficiary of her estate. He says he didn’t know this but it gives him a motive. Becca was having an affair with a young boat builder, Kieran, who suffers from PTSD after returning from Iraq. Was Freddie jealous? Then, revelations that Becca was raped by a senior officer & was intending to reveal the details throw the case wide open. The officer concerned had been allowed to retire from the force with honours & Becca had been furious. Duncan & Gemma discover that the officer had been assaulting women for years but had he murdered Becca to save his reputation?
I’ve been a fan of Deborah Crombie’s novels for years. The first one I read was Dreaming of the Bones & I immediately read the earlier books & all the subsequent ones over the last 15 years. As with all my favourite series, the relationships of the main characters are a major reason why I keep coming back, to find out what’s happening to them. Duncan & Gemma’s relationship began when they were on the same team. Gemma was a single mother & Duncan was divorced. Since then, Gemma has been promoted & moved to Notting Hill station. Duncan discovered Kit, the son he didn’t know he had & they’ve recently fostered Charlotte, a little girl left orphaned by the events in the previous book, Necessary as Blood. I love the details of their family life, with their family, colleagues & friends. The plot of No Mark Upon Her is satisfyingly complex & the pace is frantic. This is another terrific novel for fans of English police procedurals.