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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.