cover image A Perilous Conception

A Perilous Conception

Larry Karp. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (274p) ISBN 978-1-59058-975-5

The pioneer period of in vitro fertilization forms the backdrop for Karp’s promising first in a new series set in the Pacific Northwest. In 1977, obstetrician Colin Sanford aspires to be the first person to produce a viable baby through this innovative procedure. Aided by embryologist Giselle Hearn, Sanford successfully treats an infertile patient, Joyce Kennett. But before he can announce the birth of Joyce’s son, her husband, James, shoots Giselle dead and then himself. While trying to determine what triggered the murder-suicide, Det. Bernie Baumgartner discovers an additional mystery: the disappearance of Giselle’s laboratory supervisor. A duel of wills and wits ensues between the detective and Sanford, who aims to guard his reputation and avoid scandal. Karp (The Ragtime Fool), who as a young doctor was a witness to the race to produce the first IVF baby, tempers his well-constructed whodunit with dashes of science and a hint of poignancy. (Dec.)