The Secret Lives of Dentists

W.A. Winter. Seventh Street, $17.95 trade paper (306p) ISBN 978-1-64506-031-4
Winter (Handyman) uses a notorious 1955 case as the inspiration for a riveting crime novel set in that same year. Homicide detective Arne Anderson and his partner, Melvin Curry, investigate the murder of 22-year-old Teresa Hickman, whose strangled body was found on some disused streetcar tracks in her Minneapolis neighborhood. A diamond ring on her finger appears to rule out robbery as a motive, and the autopsy reveals that the victim, who was pregnant, recently had sex. Anderson and Curry learn that she was a patient of Jewish dentist H. David Rose, who treated her just hours before her death, sedating her to perform the necessary procedures before walking her home. The dentist, who admits she accused him of having impregnated her, later changes his story, claiming to have blacked out while driving her home. When he woke up, she was gone. Rose is arrested and put on trial. Winter does a masterly job maintaining suspense about the outcome and Rose’s guilt, and deepens the narrative by integrating the city’s pervasive anti-Semitism into the plot. This is a superior roman à clef. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/04/2021
Release date: 04/20/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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