Mystery

Posted: November 29, 2015 in Book reviews, Uncategorized
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By Jonathan Kellerman

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The closure and proposed demolition of the grand old Fauborg Hotel in Beverly Hills prompts psychologist Alex Delaware and his girlfriend Robin to pay a last visit to a favourite haunt, but whilst they’re sipping cocktails they are intrigued by the glamorously dressed young woman in dark glasses drinking alone. Delaware things nothing more of it, until his friend, LA homicide detective Milo Sturgis, asks for his help on a new case and shows him a picture of the victim, a young woman who’s been mercilessly gunned down, though her face has been destroyed Delaware still recognises her as the young woman from the Fauborg.

As Sturgis and Delaware dig into the case, what begins with a link to an online dating agency connecting wealthy older men with beautiful young women quickly devolves into something altogether more seedy, with a cast of characters, any one of whom might be responsible for the young woman’s death, but can they determine the real killer or killers, and will they be able to explain the mystery of how she was shot with two different guns simultaneously?

 

As near as I can figure it Jonathan Kellerman has published over thirty novels centred around (or featuring) child psychologist Alex Delaware and unconventional LA cop Milo Sturgis. I’m not sure just how many I’ve read over the years, nowhere near all of them I think, but I’ve read enough that, even though it’s been a couple of years since I last read one, coming back to their world was like visiting with old friends, and the best thing about Mystery is the easy going relationship between Delaware and Sturgis, Delaware’s slick intellectual forming the perfect foil for Sturgis’ constantly hungry, cliché busting detective and the book is at its best when they’re acting in concert.

The central mystery of ‘Mystery’ is somewhat less impressive, although it’s a solid enough police procedural that follows the usual pattern these books tend to, the detective(s) wander from clue to clue, interview to interview, some are red herrings, some aren’t helpful, but eventually the facts build up to reveal motivation and the identity of the killer.

The cast of characters all come alive, and each is memorable in his or her own way, but Mystery is a little weak because it relies on several contrivances and information we weren’t privy to (always a problem in detective fiction). Additionally the subplot involving Delaware helping the child of a terminally ill former madam come to terms with her impending death never really catches on.

It’s a solid, if slightly by the numbers, entry into the series, but engaging enough, especially for a long term fan.

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