mandag den 13. september 2010

Simon Beckett, The Chemistry of Death (2006)

This British thriller is the first in the David Hunter series.

“I arranged for a locum to be brought in until either a permanent replacement was found, or people registered with other practices in the area.”

Sorry, but Danish readers who share my infantile humour will understand why I thought this sentence was hilarious. Oh, you want to know why? Well, in Danish the word ´lokum´ can only be a euphemism for ´loo´.

What else delighted me? First of all the terrific plot. After the first four pages I was engrossed in this story, and it took quite a bit of willpower to put it down at midnight and leave it until I came back from work the next day. I spurted through four hundred pages because I had to know what happened to the poor, female victims of the odd murderer who seemed to be obsessed by killing and beheading animals.

And second? I think that was the first-person narrator, David Hunter. Three years ago he worked as a successful forensic anthropologist in London, but when his wife and little daughter were killed in an accident, he turned his back on it all and moved to remote Norfolk as an ordinary GP – among isolated farms, windmills and taciturn ´natives´ who regard any newcomer with suspicion. But when the police discover his skills, they won´t let him lick his wounds in peace any more, of course.

And now all you faithful readers will know that the desolate environment was also a source of great pleasure. Furthermore there is a good deal of forensics in the book, for example how to estimate the time of death based on insects on the body. Delicious!

What more can a reader wish for? More David Hunter stories on the shelf. But I already have volume two and three waiting for me there! I bought the first one (and the second, I think) myself because a considerate friend sent me the third book.

17 kommentarer:

Vanda Symon sagde ...

I loved this book! I'll have to track down the next ones too.

Thanks to you I'll never look at the word locum the same ever again!

Jose Ignacio Escribano sagde ...

Dorte, I'm glad you like it. I have Written in Bone in my TBR and was planning to read it soon. Not sure if this will be the right decision since I will not read Beckett's books in order which is something I do very often.

Bibliophile sagde ...

I read it several years ago after Maxine (of Petrona) sent me a copy. I enjoyed it and wouldn't mind reading more of his books. Thanks for reminding me of him.

Bernadette in Australia sagde ...

Ooooh I like the sound of this one a lot.

As for infantile humour we all have that - I have an Israeli friend whose favourite singer is Guy Pines - except they pronounce his surname as Penis. I have heard it dozens of times but chuckle every time :)

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for this excellent review :-). I really like the character of David Hunter very much, myself, and I think you will like Written in Bone and Whispers of the Dead. But I recommend strongly that you read them in order. There are several places in Whispers of the Dead that give spoilers to Written in Bone and you'll want to savour both.

Maxine sagde ...

I rather liked this book also (I had forgotten I sent it to you, Bibliophile!). I liked the second two also - I reviewed the second one for EuroCrime and it's a good take on the Island Mystery. The third (and so far most recent) is set in the USA and does Patricia Cornwell much better than Patricial Cornwell. I think we must surely be due a new one by now! Apparently the author sells very well in Germany but not so well in the UK. Must be something to do with the "toilet facilities" I suppose.

Clarissa Draper sagde ...

I haven't read this book but now I want to.

Dorte H sagde ...

Vanda: I am sure you´ll enjoy it - and every time you see the word ´locum´ in it, you will remember me ;)

Jose: as I have only read one, it is difficult to say if you need to read them in order, but when I had seen a couple of reviews of his books, I got the impression it was so good I would read all of them anyway.

Bibliophile: how funny. Maxine sent me the third book :D

Dorte H sagde ...

Bernadette: I think it has a good chance of living up to your thriller requirements.

Margot: well, then you have answered Jose´s questions. And now that I *have* bought the first, there is really no need to read them out of order :D

Maxine: I hope you like them! You were the blogger who tempted me to buy them :D

Clarissa: I like ´selling´ a good story :D Come back and tell me, if you buy it.

Mack sagde ...

I discovered this author though the miracle of the Internet. South African author Jassy Mackenzie wrote about Chemisgtry of Death in Crime Beat, the SA crime blog and one of my favorite blog reads.

I enjoyed everything about this novel - the characters, the pacing, the plot, the forensic details. I do admit to wondering about small English villages as my wife and I toured the countryside a year ago. What secrets lurked there.

I had forgotten that the third book, Whisperers of the Dead was set in the body farm, scene of the last Patricia Cornwall Kay Scaptetta novel I read.

I also recommend this book.

Dorte H sagde ...

Mack, he really seems to be a terrific writer, and I am glad I have the next two on my TBR.

Kelly sagde ...

This book sounds great! I'll have to add it to my "keep in mind" list (not to be confused with my TBR stack).

Thanks for explaining the humor, too. I, too, will probably never see the word "locum" again in the same light.
: )

Dorte H sagde ...

Kelly: I think you´d like it. And I have come across the English word ´locum´ before, of course, but in *this* context it just looked so funny.

Heather sagde ...

This sounds very good. Have added it to my reading list. Thanks for introducing me to this author.

Dorte H sagde ...

Heather: it was an amazingly well-written debut!

Beth F sagde ...

This is the second review of this book I read today. I'm so convinced that I just bought it and downloaded it to my Nook. No kidding.

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth: it is one of the most promising debuts I have read for a long time. Can´t wait to hear what you think about it.