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ORIGIN IN DEATH by Nora Roberts

ORIGIN IN DEATH

By Nora Roberts

Pub Date: Aug. 9th, 2005
ISBN: 0-399-15289-X
Publisher: Putnam

Who killed the beloved old plastic surgeon, and why is Eve Dallas so skeptical of the good doctor’s sterling reputation?

In her 21st recorded case (Survivor in Death, 2005, etc.), NYC police lieutenant Dallas is called to the impressive Wilfred B. Icove Center for Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery. The year is 2059, and the Big Apple’s glitterati still like to partake in the occasional nip and tuck. Dallas is there to investigate a brutal attack on famed beauty Lee-Lee Ten. In seclusion at the Center, Ten is tight-lipped about the assault, and Dallas sidekick Delia Peabody can’t shake her. Since they’re on the premises, the detectives decide to talk to the great man himself. They discover Icove dead in his plush chair, killed by a single, expertly delivered stab through the heart. Dallas quickly clears Icove’s inconsolable son and partner, Wilfred Jr., as a suspect. While Peabody’s research pinpoints the perp as a “Spanish woman” who visited the doctor by appointment, the lady subsequently vanished without a trace. Moreover, there appears to be no motive for the killing of squeaky-clean Icove, nicknamed Dr. Perfect for his charitable work and devotion to family. Dallas assumes the Icoves are too good to be true, a suspicion borne out when Junior suffers the same fate as Senior. An exclusive finishing school and a cloning secret lie at the heart of the mystery, which includes some nice curves and sci-fi touches for an extra level of fun. But the real appeal stems from Roberts’s frothy prose and the chemistry she creates, both in the edgy banter between Dallas and Peabody and the charged relationship of Eve and husband Roarke, the perfect bed partner and sounding board as usual.

While other series of this duration seem to be running out of gas, this one is just hitting its stride.