The Chemistry of Death – Simon Beckett

My Rating – 4/5

Summary –

Dr. David Hunter arrives as a GP in Manham, a small village in Norfolk. But he has a secret to hide and a tragedy that he is trying to forget. Three years later his past catches up with him as horrifying things begin to happen in the quintessential English village and Dr. Hunter is forced to reveal his secret.

Review –

I always like mysteries set in quaint little places where a murder seems to be the last thing that can happen. But once things become murky, the skeletons start coming out of closets and the darker side of human nature reveals its ugly face. The Chemistry of Death delivers just that. Set in a picturesque little English village in the middle of nowhere, women start to disappear and their mutilated dead bodies are found in the woods around the village.

As a relative newcomer, Dr. Hunter is a suspect till he is forced to reveal to the Police that he was a forensic anthropologist before becoming a GP and an expert in the field of study of dead bodies. Hunter reluctantly joins the investigation as his new girlfriend becomes the latest target of a demented serial killer.

It is a captivating novel with a mystery that is beguiling. It kept throwing red herrings at every turn and there were twists and a big twist in the end and an even bigger one after that. I tried my best to fathom the mystery beforehand using all the possible clues that Dr. Hunter left in his narration and yet could only partially unravel it.

But I liked this novel more for Beckett’s knack of turning the gory subject of forensic anthropology into an interesting one. There are descriptions that are sometimes graphic and macabre but overall Beckett has kept them to the bare minimum. He describes the process of analysing human remains in an interesting fashion thus creating a genuine curiosity about this uncommon specialised field.

Dr. Hunter as a grieving young widower is a strong central character. Forced into his earlier profession, one that he was trying to run away from, he rediscovers himself and emerges as a revived man. I am now hooked to the series and will like to read how Beckett further gives shape to his personality.

If you are game for a good mystery, definitely give this a try.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.

The book is available cheapest in India at –

1. Homeshop 18 2. Infibeam 3. Crossword


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