A STUDY IN DEATH by Iain McDowall


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The late Crowby University Professor Roger Harvey is far less interesting than the suspects who survive him: (1) his neighbor, David Mitchell, a computer whiz who has stolen the DawnTrader program from Eschaton Systems and gone to Amsterdam to collect his ill-gotten gains; (2) Mitchell’s wife, now raging her way to tranquility in a New Age community; (3) and (4) Harvey’s dear friends, John and Annie Kent, now attending to the details of his funeral and closing his apartment; and (5) Laura Gregory, stalwart of the Crowby Women’s Refuge, whose docket sports a knife-wielding assault charge and a sexual history that included not only the late Professor Harvey but Professor Merchant, the police pathologist. All of them, of course, come under the wary eyes of Detective Sergeant Ian Kerr and Detective Chief Inspector Frank Jacobson, who begin by searching for the solid brass blunt instrument of two to three pounds that thrashed Harvey’s head to bits but soon become immersed in the victim’s past and present romantic entanglements while trying to sort through their own. Dogged police work, an old love letter and a more recent one, and the date on a prescription bottle resolve the case—but leave Kerr and his Cathy in limbo, though Jacobson does make a start on reconnecting to his daughter.

Despite some ill-thought-out red herrings, together with more than you may want to know about the coppers’ private lives, devotees of the British procedural will probably take to this debut quite nicely.

Pub Date: Dec. 28th, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-27868-3
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2001