Sunday, February 19, 2017

Murder 101

I predicted Peter Decker's retirement from the LAPD four books ago in Blindman's Bluff.  I was wrong in thinking that he'd retire altogether and that Cindy Decker Kutiel would become the new protagonist.  That's probably a good thing, because Faye Kellerman has relocated Cindy and her NP-turned-med-student husband Kody to Philadelphia and I suspect that the West Coast based author would place neighborhoods in the wrong parts of the city and make Walnut Street run north/south.

Decker hasn't actually retired.  Instead, he's moved to a college town in upstate New York and joined the local police force.  The police deal mainly with small property crimes and sub-critical medical problems - and Tyler McAdams, a rich kid working as a police officer "until I start law school" and mainly to irritate his wealthy and overbearing father.  McAdams is smart, but arrogant and condescending, so naturally Rina invites him to the Shabbat dinner she holds for local students.  That evening, the police chief calls Decker to investigate a break-in at the local cemetery.  It turns out that someone has replaced two of four Louis Comfort Tiffany panels in one of the mausoleums with fakes.  A few days later, a senior art student is found murdered.  The two crimes lead Decker McAdams into the art world and, with some research help from Rina, to a solution I found a bit too abrupt and too wide-ranging to be fully satisfying.

I did, however, enjoy Murder 101 as a novel.  Peter has spent his entire career with experienced detectives, so I enjoyed watching him instruct a rookie in the basics of police work.  The Deckers' East Coast relocation means that they can visit their kids, so they (and we) have dinner with Sammy and his wife Rachel, Jake and his girlfriend Ilana, Hannah and her fiancé Rafe, and Cindy and Kody.  There are even cameo appearances by Marge Dunn (by phone) and Scott Oliver, and McAdams's grandmother, a stereotypical but entertaining grande dame.  The 22nd book in the series made me want to go back and read the first.

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