The Helium Murder

Camille Minichino, Author Avalon Books $19.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8034-9298-1
In this lighthearted and lightweight second novel by Minichino (The Hydrogen Murder, 1997), finding a murderer seems almost a game. Gloria Lamerino, a retired Berkeley physicist, has returned to Revere, Mass., where she is a science consultant to the police department. Her services are requested after Congresswoman Margaret Hurley is murdered by a hit-and-run driver. Hurley was a member of the House Science and Technology Committee, and Congress was in the midst of debating whether or not to sell the nation's reserve of helium. While Gloria receives some unwanted amorous attention from an old friend, she casts a yearning eye on police sergeant Matt Gennero and isn't at all upset about the prospect that her work will bring her closer to him. Speculating on the alibis and motives of a motley cast of suspects, Gloria detects links between this murder and the death of her fianc 30 years ago. Her knowledge of chemistry helps her understand the meaning of the last word Hurley uttered and ultimately leads her to the murderer--and nearly to her own death--in the mortuary basement. If the murder motive turns out to be lighter than helium, Gloria's self-deprecating humor and clear-eyed understanding of her own and others' motives make her an engaging sleuth. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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