Adam B. Vary
July 23, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Murder Suicide

Current Status
In Season
Keith Ablow

We gave it a B+

This magazine once compared Ablow to Thomas Harris, which you’ll no doubt note on Murder Suicide’s dust jacket. It appears Ablow’s also been channeling another revered master of murder most foul: Agatha Christie. The elegantly complicated forensic psychiatrist Dr. Frank Clevenger is still front and center, but this time there’s no manhunt, no ornately macabre crime scenes, and the victims, a brilliant Boston inventor plagued by epilepsy and his beautiful-but-borderline mistress, at first appear to be just gruesome suicides who bought it the same day. But Clevenger methodically interviews the suspects — the powerful business partner, the aloof wife, the enraged husband, the unhinged daughter, the arrogant neurosurgeon — and his insight into their psyches (and his own) moves the plot along at an appropriately brisk clip. Then he gathers everyone for the Big Reveal. It’s enough to make Miss Marple proud.

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