Tuesday 17 September 2019

Book review : The Theory of Death - Faye Kellerman

The Theory of Death is labelled as number 23 in Faye Kellerman's Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus thrillers series, featuring the good-natured and mutually-supportive American-Jewish husband and wife team. It can be perfectly enjoyed as a standalone novel though. Certain things rang a few bells as I was reading, and I discovered that I had also read and reviewed Hangman, which is book 19 from the series, a few years ago. It doesn't really add anything extra to the story though, but the couple are so comfortable together that they are enjoyable to watch. The series apparently contains 25 titles at present and, as they are already getting on in years in this novel, I would think they'll be retiring soon, if they haven't already !

In this novel, the couple are approached by Tyler McAdams, who was apparently Decker's partner at some time in the past, currently studying at Harvard University and looking for some study time off campus at their home. He never seems to spend much time in front of the books though, as he is soon dipping his nose into Decker's latest case.

A body has been discovered in the local woods, but is it a murder or a suicide? They soon identify the victim as a maths student in Kneed Loft College, but he appears to be a kind, wholesome young man with no enemies or personal problems. As they dip into his background, looking for anything suspicious, they discover that he was involved in a slightly dodgy group of students and tutors, using their mathematical knowledge in underhand, if not really illegal, ways. Then another body is found. 

It's a fairly sedate crime fiction novel, relying on clever thinking rather than fast action, so it will appeal to those who don't want too much blood and gore. I was slightly disappointed by the role of Rina Lazarus in this book, as she has basically a bit part, providing food and moral support to her tired husband but not a whole lot else. Even their children are simply brought into the novel for a family meal in New York, without seeming to serve any real purpose.

If you want to read an interesting but calm crime fiction novel that offers family values more than bucketloads of blood and chewed fingernails, this is perfect.

star rating : 4/5

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (7 April 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007517718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007517718

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