RogerBW's Blog

Golden in Death, J. D. Robb 08 April 2020

2019 SF/mystery; sixty-first (roughly, or 50th novel, hence presumably the title) of J. D. Robb's In Death series (SF police procedurals). Someone beloved by everyone who knew him is killed by a cunning gas bomb.

And this is a police procedural much more than it's a mystery: rather than using the standard mystery story format of introducing a bunch of suspects and then kicking suspicion around between them, this book takes things off on a false start only really fixed when a second victim dies by the same method and there's the possibility of a bit of correlation. Then things become a bit more conventional, but it's still basically a matter of sieving the suspects against the increasing load of evidence rather than making a single brilliant deduction.

And that works well. The core plot is one that would work in the present day with only minor alterations, and that's where Robb is happiest, rather than when she's dealing with clones and high-tech wizardry. There's also not much effort made to squeeze in lots of the recurring cast, so the ones who are here get a decent amount of narrative time. (Trying to put in something from everyone is the sort of thing one might expect in a 50th book, but this is very much another in the series rather than an anniversary special; indeed, one could read it cold and not be lost.) Is Roarke perhaps a bit more mellow than when he turned up in the first book? Sure. So's Dallas. But I can see how they got from 1995 to here.

I'm not completely convinced that the method of murder fits with the killer's psychology, and I'm less convinced that lead-lining a container full of poison to "get through the scans" would make a package look less suspicious. Still, this is a decent story in its own right and makes some interesting progress in the series.

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Previous in series: Vendetta in Death | Series: In Death | Next in series: Shadows in Death

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