The Labcoat

Overview

The body of a professor lies sprawled on the stairs in the chemistry building of normally tranquil Mellon University. At first the death appears to be from a simple heart attack. But then Eric Berg, a theology professor and former military police officer who helps the campus police, is called into the case. Berg's investigation reveals a rushed cremation, an all-too-calm widow, and one lone piece of evidence‹a labcoat worn by the victim. He also discovers his attraction to the young female detective he works ...
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7/30/1998 Hardcover New Cloth. ***New*** 1st. Edition. Remainder Mark. brand new Satisfaction Guaranteed, Personal Service, International Shipping Available. Photos by Request.

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Overview

The body of a professor lies sprawled on the stairs in the chemistry building of normally tranquil Mellon University. At first the death appears to be from a simple heart attack. But then Eric Berg, a theology professor and former military police officer who helps the campus police, is called into the case. Berg's investigation reveals a rushed cremation, an all-too-calm widow, and one lone piece of evidence‹a labcoat worn by the victim. He also discovers his attraction to the young female detective he works with, and a dangerous web of temptation, falsehood, injustice, and overwhelming ambition.
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Editorial Reviews

Ralph McInerny
"Soderquist is a natural storyteller. . . . In The Labcoat, he has brought new depth to the academic novel, investing it with a moral level it has not often had." -from the creator of the Father Dowling Mysteries
Robert K. Tanenbaum
"Wonderfully magnetic. Draws the reader in and holds on tight."- from the acclaimed author of the Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi series
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Featuring a laughably implausible sleuth, Soderquist's unsuccessful debut mystery traces a series of equally unlikely murders in academia. Eric Berg's busy life has culminated in a professorship of theology at Mellon University and an assistant chieftainship of police ("big title, no salary") on campus. The big case comes when Frank Willard, an overweight chemist, dies on the Mellon campus, apparently from a heart attack. Frank was sleeping with a nymphomaniac grad student. His wife, Doris, also has a lover, and, after Frank's death, Doris shows an unseemly haste in getting the deceased cremated. Berg finds traces of cyanide spray on Frank's clothes and starts hunting through the campus for the professor most likely to benefit from the death. Soderquist's prose is grim but has none of the moody bounce of better dark-souled mystery writing. While he fails to develop any character properly, Berg's wife is a particularly short-changed creation. Berg himself, caught in a mild midlife crises, comes off as a pompous moralizer until he gets tangled up with his assistant, Kate, at the rushed and morally unresolved conclusion. The murder solution relies on an improbable series of kills for career advancement and several coincidental links that leave the reader with a solitary suspect--and precious little satisfaction. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Mellon University theology professor Eric Berg doubles as the (unpaid) assistant chief of the campus police. He jumps at the chance to investigate a possible murder when the body of a chemistry professor, dead of an apparent heart attack, is too hastily cremated by his nervous wife. After figuring out the means of death, Berg na vely blabs to suspects and confronts others with his rather dubious authority. This first effort rolls along smoothly--if slowly--but it's loaded with needless explanatory detail and lacking in crucial dramatic tension. A marginal purchase.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781577360889
  • Publisher: Providence House Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/1998
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.89 (d)

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