Books by Andrew Puckett

SHADOWS BEHIND A SCREEN by Andrew Puckett
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 4, 1999

Harry Benedict, a department head at the National Microbiology Laboratory in England's Regis-on-Sea General Hospital, seems to attract misfortune. His live-in lover Tania died in a car crash two months ago. Now his year-old son Peter is in the hospital with a virulent ear infection. When the standard antibiotics fail to work, the job of finding an effective one is given to Richard Kelso, a fellow scientist and longtime enemy of Harry's. Much lab testing finally produces the right medication, and Kelso puts it in the computer. Following the use of that information, baby Peter dies in the night: it seems that the computer finding was somehow changed, producing the fatal result. A day later, Benedict and Kelso come to blows. Kelso dies—possibly by accident—but Benedict is charged with murder and is now out on bail. Meanwhile, the Department of Health has sent Inspector Tom Jones (The Ladies of the Vale, 1995, etc.), who knows his way around computers, to look into the business. This he does, at tedious length—interviewing Benedict's ex-girlfriend Amina Khatoon; his new squeeze Sally Yate (both on the staff); hospital head Dr. Crowe, lab manager Joy Manners, and others. Tom comes up with a lightning-fast way of changing material in the computer, but in the middle of it all Benedict seems on the verge of suicide. There's another death, a confession, a final denouement that defies belief, and a conventional happy ending. Loads of technical computer-jargon here, but the author's flair for intricate plots and personalities keeps this one moderately intriguing. Read full book review >
THE LADIES OF THE VALE by Andrew Puckett
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 21, 1995

Cardiology patients (especially those with donor organ cards) at St. Chad's Hospital near Birmingham, England, are dying at a rate that seems unwarranted to Nursing Sister Jo Farewell. And so she undertakes some statistical analysis—the results of which send her to the police, over the objections of the administrator Ann Whittington. The police can't help, but National Health Service Investigator Tom Jones (Terminus, 1991, etc.) soon arrives on Jo's doorstep. Under the guise of seeking economies, he scrutinizes hospital records and personnel, finally confirming Jo's suspicions that a murderer is at large. Pinpointing the method used and the likeliest culprit brings forth a stream of eye-glazing medical and computer jargon. Religious fanaticism, gangster revenge, and the sale of body parts to the highest bidder all contribue to the bizarrely over-the-top plotting. A charmless heroine and a flat-footed style are no help in this exercise in tedium. Read full book review >

A flat outing for Department of Health investigator Tom Jones (Bloodstains), now sent, undercover, to St. John's Hospice after staff nurse Wilmington, who alerted London to possible hospice drug improprieties, dies under mysterious circumstances. There, a mortuary assistant waylays him in an alley; his room is searched; Dr. Westleigh, the director, seems frazzled; pretty nurse Hester, nurse Wilmington's successor, is overly helpful; and the hospice is desperately in need of funds—despite the windfall from benefactor Berkeley's will, which, had he not died first, he would have rewritten. All signs point to Westleigh as the heroin pilferer and double-murderer—but only after Jones disrupts a crack-manufacturing session are the real culprits revealed. Unsurprising twist ending, phlegmatic prose, and only mildly interesting heroin facts. Read full book review >