Funnelweb

Russell Braddon, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (223p) ISBN 978-0-312-05435-9
London violinist Christopher Westbury conceives a plan to murder five people with a funnelweb spider, a poisonous Australian arachnid. With elaborate planning and costuming, the demented musician plants two of the spiders in a dancer's costume and then watches from the orchestra pit as the toxic serum does its work. Following the first death, detective chief superintendent Charles Cheadle assembles the clues, trying to understand the criminal's deranged mind so that his next move can be predicted. The author relays the thoughts and actions of both Westbury and Cheadle: readers dip into the violinist's exhaustive journal entries and are privy as well to plentiful dialogue between Cheadle and his detective sergeant sidekick. In his first mystery British author Braddon attends to cleverness at the expense of character development and motivation: his story becomes an exercise in wit--like playing chess with oneself--rather than a novel of flesh, blood and suspense. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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