Lt. Eve Dallas celebrates her 50th futuristic procedural by taking down an unusually malevolent and resourceful poisoner.
Who would have wanted to kill saintly physician Kent Abner, who donated his services to a pediatric clinic—except of course for all those abusive parents he reported to the authorities over the years? Eve and her partner, Detective Delia Peabody (Vendetta in Death, 2019, etc.), are still wending their way through the list of possibles when they learn that Elise Duran has been prevented from hosting the weekly meeting of her book club in exactly the same way Abner was killed: She breathed the toxic fumes released from a golden egg delivered to her door. The murder method is so offbeat and so precisely calibrated—the malefactor clearly targeted both victims when they were home alone and chose a chemical agent that would be sure to dispatch them without killing any innocent victims—that both crimes were obviously hatched by a single brain. And this time, the second murder, instead of muddling the mystery, clarifies it so dramatically that Eve, backed up by her usual legion of omnicompetent colleagues and a little help from Roarke, her dishy billionaire husband, quickly identifies the likely motive for both homicides and then zeroes in on her prime suspect when her tale is only halfway told. So there’s precious little mystery after the initial false leads. The rewards on tap instead are the familiar pleasures of watching Eve and Peabody and the New York Police painstakingly gather evidence, make their case, relentlessly question any number of variously complicit citizens who don’t happen to be the killer and walk away from their pushback, and then break the perp in a climactic interrogation that the mountain of physical evidence they’ve amassed makes as superfluous as it is satisfying.
It’s great to think that the dawning surveillance state will help catch some actual criminals in the mid-21st-century.