cover image MURDER IN SILVERPLATE

MURDER IN SILVERPLATE

Don D'Ammassa, Author . Five Star $25.95 (269p) ISBN 978-1-59414-260-4

"If everyone who disliked his or her boss committed murder, the entire economy would grind to a halt." That's the conclusion exasperated police detective Walter Henderson comes to when confronted by an abundance of suspects with neither good motives nor solid alibis in D'Ammassa's sluggish tale of homicide in the workplace. Employees at Standard Silver, a specialty manufacturer of silver-plated tchotchkes, arrive at work one morning to find manager Frank Antonelli crushed to death in a press "accident" that screams murder. Interrogations reveal that virtually everyone has some gripes with Frank and Standard, including quality control manager Vicki Sanders, who just happens to be Henderson's spunky daughter. A chip off the old block, Vicki decides to do some sleuthing of her own, but her investigations are hampered by still more employee killings. Frank's gruesome death starts the story off with a visceral jolt, but the narrative bogs down shortly after as detectives go about the tedious chore of grilling the suspects about their jobs. The numbing minutiae they relate grounds the story in realistic detail, but it makes everyone sound drably indistinguishable and keeps the narrative from developing any momentum. To his credit, D'Ammassa (Scarab ) paints a credible portrait of a work force either demoralized or Machiavellian enough to treat murder as a labor-saving device for climbing the corporate ladder. (Nov. 16)