Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Calculated Demise: The Hypatia Murders-Robert Miller

A Calculated Demise: The Hypatia Murders
Robert Spiller
Medallion, Sep 2007, $7.95
ISBN: 9781933836157

In El Paso County, Colorado recently widowed fifty three year old Bonnie Pinkwater teaches math at East Plains Junior/Senior High School. Although she grieves her loss, her cat and three dogs help her at home while her job keeps her mind somewhat occupied.

Odious but highly regarded wrestling coach Luther Devereaux orders mentally challenged Matt Boone to meet him at the wrestling loft during Bonnie’s math class. When the teen fails to return, Bonnie sends Matt’s best friend, student council president Greg Hanson to investigate. Greg races back to the classroom informing Bonnie that Matt killed Mr. Devereaux with a knife. Although she has no plans to get involved in the official inquiry led by a former student turned sheriff, a confused Matt pleads with her to help him. Greg offers to assist Bonnie whose early findings implicate Matt in a premeditated homicide. However, as Greg's brother Kyle and father Barty are killed as well as a young woman named Janice, Matt's brother Simon becomes the prime suspect until he too is murdered. Meanwhile Superintendent Xavier “The Divine Pain in the Ass” Divine demands Bonnie either quit her sleuthing or her job at a time when one of her canines is dog-napped to get her to drop her investigation; which means to her dig deeper.

The key to this enjoyable amateur sleuth tale is the heroine’s reluctance to get involved coupled with her mathematical solving approach to problems like who is the killer. The story line is action-packed and filled with several twists as each time Bonnie feels she has solved the equation, new variables surface. Although this reviewer has some doubts about Matt’s ability to do high school math and not understand his arraignment or his inability to recall recent events, readers will appreciate the feisty teacher investigate the Hypatia Rocky Mountain murders.

Harriet Klausner