Murder by Fax

Henk Elsink, Author, Elsinck, Author Intercontinental Publishing $7.95 (242p) ISBN 978-1-881164-52-4
Elsinck ( Tenerife! ) has created a technical tour-de-force: a whodunit consisting solely of facsimile messages. This high-tech version of the epistolary novel succeeds as the faxed messages quickly prove capable of providing plot, clues and characterization. Indeed, the very impersonality of the narrative makes the two murders that occur herein all the more shocking. Unfortunately, Elsinck creates greater tension with the fax format--can he sustain its originality to the end?--than with the plot. An extortionist decides to shake down Royal Dutch Shell for $5 million with the help of a disgruntled ex-employee. Carefully using fax machines to limit his exposure, the villain slowly increases the pressure on J. M. Voute, an official of Shell; the extortionist ultimately kidnaps and then murders Voute's son after getting away wth the ransom. Along the way his co-conspirator is also murdered. Everything about this story is mechanical: the murderer uses technology brilliantly to advance his plan, but the author provides few plot twists as the novel proceeds to its predetermined end. 50,000 first printing; author tour. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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