Tidy Killing

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
340 Pages
Reviewed on 12/22/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite

Tidy Killing by Vera Mont sees Detective-Sergeant Alec Sims called to investigate a death in a laboratory. While the innocuous appearance of the scene leads the coroner to believe the death was due to an accident or suicide, Sims remains convinced it was a homicide. He devotes time after hours to proving a case exists, demonstrating motive, means, and opportunity. In the process of the investigation, he learns every secret of the workplace and uncovers the private lives of the staff. Sims develops a bond with the widowed Mrs. Morley and is disciplined at work for wasting time and energy. Will the killer get away with a uniquely designed crime?

Tidy Killing by Vera Mont features a cleverly assembled, detective-driven narrative. I liked Alec Sims and felt he belonged up there with the famous detectives of sleuth fiction. He displayed a vulnerability and willingness to get involved, which was unusual for the lead investigator in a mystery. I found the ambivalent view of human flaws and faults realistic and insightful. Amanda and the deceased Edward had grown apart but had comfortably chosen not to divorce. David Frayne was engaged but chose to cultivate several women for ulterior motives. Beverly Jones drove her amiable husband, Martin, to provide a flashy lifestyle. Sim’s respectful attitude toward women contrasted with the lewd talk of the locker room braggart. I especially enjoyed the low-key romance with Amanda Morley as the line between professional and personal was gradually eroded by the best intentions. I would happily place Tidy Killing by Vera Mont on my bookshelf somewhere between cozy mystery and literary whodunit.

Pikasho Deka

Tidy Killing is a riveting sleuth murder mystery novel by Vera Mont. When the head scientist of the chemistry research department of Ac-Me Plastics is found dead in his lab, Detective Sergeant Alec Sims is assigned to the case. Despite the seemingly ordinary environment surrounding Dr. Edward Morley's death, Sims suspects foul play. After discovering that Dr. Morley died of cyanide poisoning, Sims begins to investigate every employee of Ac-Me. But as he delves further into the investigation, he finds that almost everyone has an alibi, while Dr. Morley himself might have made a few enemies with his actions. Sims finds an unlikely ally in Dr. Morley's widow, Amanda, with whom he forms a burgeoning friendship. Now, he has a prime suspect with a motive but lacks witnesses and evidence. Can Sims put the killer behind bars?

One of the things I was most impressed with is that, unlike most detective mysteries, Vera Mont presents a realistic approach to a murder investigation with lots of conversations featuring a large cast of characters. The plot is a slow-burner, but all the more captivating for that. All the characters seem well-fleshed-out, having agency for their actions and motives. That's because Mont manages to humanize them with backstories and interactions about their personal lives. The narrative is very much dialogue-driven, and as a reader, you feel like you're part of the world these characters inhabit. Sims is a fantastic protagonist who feels like a real person with vulnerabilities and insecurities. Apart from the primary murder mystery, I also enjoyed the dynamic between Sims and his colleagues. Sleuth mystery and crime fiction enthusiasts will love Tidy Killing!

Alma Boucher

In Tidy Killing, a murder mystery by Vera Mont, Dr. Morley was found dead on the laboratory floor. Since there was no indication of cyanide in his stomach contents yet he had died from cyanide poisoning, it was most likely he had inhaled it. It was the clearest case Detective Sergeant Alec Sims had ever investigated. He suspected that the killer had ambushed Dr. Morley from the rear, crushed a potassium cyanide capsule, and killed him in a matter of minutes. Marcie Bowers, a traumatized young woman, had witnessed a man running off; he ducked through the hedge and held something to his mouth. Alec does not have many leads to follow so will he be able to track down the killer with the few leads at his disposal?

Tidy Killing by Vera Mont is a suspenseful story with interesting, compelling characters. I was left wondering who the killer was because of the plot's many cleverly constructed turns and twists. I kept turning the pages because I had to know what would happen next. The characters were well-developed and relatable. Some of the characters are eccentric, and most of them have secrets. The story kept me on the edge of my seat with all the suspense. Predicting what would happen next was impossible, and I was kept guessing until the very end. The story was brilliantly written and hooked me from start to finish. It is an outstanding mystery and well worth reading; it gave much more than I expected.

Keith Mbuya

The lifeless body of a scientist on the laboratory floor. A Bunsen burner lying in a pool of yellowish-green frothy substance on one of the benches. All this in an otherwise spotlessly clean lab. This is the sight that met Detective Sergent Alec Sims as he checked in at Ac-Me Plastics to investigate the murder scene. It was the tidiest murder Detective Sims had ever seen. Dr. Morley, the deceased, had died from gas poisoning, or so the coroner believed but Sims thought there was more to Morley’s death. Determined to get to the bottom of it all, Sims goes in hot pursuit with the few clues he has and finds himself chasing after a cold-blooded killer with an unshakable alibi. Find out more in Vera Mont’s Tidy Killing.

The author hatched an enthralling plot, hauling me into a world of photographers, artists, hawk-eyed sleuths, scientists, dog lovers, and so much more. The subtle tone of the storyline and the plot twists kept me flipping through page after page. I never knew where the story was headed. The author's vivid descriptions perfectly captured the mood and setting of the scenes. Vera expertly depicted the cast’s emotions, bringing out their complex traits. This coupled with the use of introspection enabled me to connect with them. Sims is shrewd, intuitive, analytic, observant, and inquisitive in nature. His cool-headed demeanor can easily fool anyone. Lovers of mystery, murder, and sleuth novels will find Vera Mont’s Tidy Killing an engrossing read.

Risah Salazar

Detective Sergeant Sims is dispatched one morning to investigate a murder. Right from the start, it's apparent that he and the coroner don't see eye to eye, but despite their differences, they must focus on the task at hand. The coroner conducts only a cursory check, not even a proper investigation, concluding that the victim, Dr. Edward Morley, a chemist and researcher, died of natural causes—his heart gave out. Sims takes a different approach, leaving no stone unturned and avoiding premature conclusions. What stands out in this case is the peculiar cleanliness of the victim's lab. Sims wonders why a diligent researcher's workspace would be spotless, unlike the usual slight disorder. The case becomes more perplexing with an aloof victim, clueless co-workers, and a surprisingly calm wife. Sims faces a challenging investigation.

Vera Mont's Tidy Killing is engaging, compelling, and fast-paced. Every scene is meticulously detailed without being overwhelming. A myriad of characters weaves the story's intricate fabric, yet Mont masterfully ensures that each one not only contributes meaningfully but also leaves an indelible mark on the reader's mind. The distinctiveness of their personalities prevents any confusion. Crafting a multitude of characters, each with their unique quirks, can pose a formidable challenge for an author, but Mont navigates this complexity with remarkable ease and finesse, making it seem almost effortless. Mont carefully crafts her characters's actions, providing motivation and consistency. This writing style ensures that readers eagerly devour every page, craving more insight. Following Sims on his journey to uncover the truth is thrilling, and the suspense will captivate the audience, leaving them longing for answers.