Sporting brains, hips, and a sense of adventure, fifty-six-year-old Gloria Lamerino single-handedly proved her mettle as a shrewd physicist-sleuth in The Lithium Murder, and she's about to do it again.
Gloria suspects something is amiss when she learns that Gary Larkin has died of beryllium poisoning in his Berkeley, California, physics laboratory. The police deem his death a tragic accident, but Gloria, who has worked with Gary before, knows better. She heads out to the West Coast, determined to uncover the truth. In the process, she finds herself enmeshed in the search for a missing teenager. Internet pornography, beryllium disease, jealous coworkers, nasty divorce proceedings, and an illegitimate child. All are pieces of the puzzle, and it isn't long before Gloria discovers that her two parallel investigations are linked in ways even she never expected. The Beryllium Murder transports us to the scenic Berkeley hills--and to a self-contained world where hard science and sudden death meet.
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Mystery novel series seem to have a special appeal for authors and readers alike. Fans can recite the alphabet (Sue Grafton's A Is for Alibi, B Is for Burglar) or chant a children's rhyme (Janet Evanovich's One for the Money, Two for the Dough)--and these days, courtesy of Camille Minichino, they can work their way through the periodic table of elements: The Hydrogen Murder, The Helium Murder, The Lithium Murder.
Minichino, a retired Berkeley physicist, is up to element number four in The Beryllium Murder, which finds her shrewd physicist-sleuth, Gloria Lamerino, drawn back to the Bay Area. Gloria suspects that Gary Larkin's death by beryllium poisoning at Berkeley University Laboratory is not, as the police have decreed, a tragic accident. What better way to justify a trip to see old friends and colleagues? But when she arrives, her friend Elaine begs her to look into the disappearance of a missing teenager; as Gloria digs deeper into Manuel Martinez's mysterious absence, she finds a peculiar connection between the high school student and the dead physicist. It appears that Manuel has been profiting from certain scientists' computerized indiscretions by indulging in a spot of "hackmail." Subatomic particles aren't the only things that behave peculiarly in Gloria's world; her fellow physicists seem to have a lot to hide.
The mechanics of the mystery aren't particularly riveting, but readers will forgive Minichino her tendency to supply Gloria with clues on a silver platter (the Berkeley police seem unusually willing to share evidence with a private citizen). Clad in comfortable knit pants ("Only fifteen more [pounds to lose] and I'd be down to the upper limit for 'medium-frame males' on the insurance charts. Never mind that at five-three, I was actually a small-frame female") and sporting one of her myriad collection of lapel pins, Gloria is a refreshing mix of stubbornness and insecurity, and readers will cheer her deductions no matter how they may arrive. The climax of the novel finds her skittering gingerly across a toxic waste dump; in between chuckles, you'll probably find yourself trying eagerly to remember just what comes after beryllium, and rejoicing that Minichino has at least 111 elements left to work with. --Kelly FlynnAbout the Author:
Camille Minichino has a Ph.D. in physics and had a long and rewarding career in research and education. She is the author of three previous mysteries featuring Gloria Lamerino: The Hydrogen Murder, The Helium Murder, and The Lithium Murder. In addition to writing, Minichino enjoys creating and teaching special classes in science literacy for nontechnical people. She is a volunteer with Project Literacy, teaches science and writing, is president of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and on the National Board of MWA. She lives with her husband in San Leandro, California.
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Descripción Thorndike Press, 2001. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. No Jacket. LARGE PRINT, from the publisher's archive, ship by MediaMail. Nº de ref. de la librería LP276