A detective mystery featuring an insufferably supercilious and condescending professor of criminology and his somewhat timid student/assistant, who he is privately coming to think is terribly clever and perspective, but whom I think is just sensible. He is apparently called on by the police to help out in various homicide investigations where the police are dumbfounded. Kind of like Sherlock Holmes — same smugness and superiority without the charm. OK, Sherlock Holmes had no charm either. He, too, was insufferably supercilious and condescending.
Professor Stuart McCauley embarks on a case of serial murders in the subway, each victim a young woman, gutted and disfigured with a big cross sliced across her thoracic region. We meet the killer first in the guise of a priest, then a young woman sees another attack from her apartment window, this time by a rabbi, and i which is so horrific that after her words on her 911 call, she never speaks again and eventually commits suicide. Meanwhile, the young assistant to the professor seems to have no lasting psychological scars from listening to the tape of the call nor of seeing the body. Go figure. This is the 17th slaying.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to some employees of a a large pharmaceuticals company with facilities nearby, and wonder what that has to do with the murders. Obviously something, or why bring it up, right?
Well, my dear sillies, of COURSE it has something to do with the murders. But just what, exactly? Meanwhile, the bodies are piling up like logs for the coming winter, and now we have suspicious deaths that are not in the subway and not young women.
All in all, an interesting mystery, an unlikable smart guy, and what I consider to be an insulting trope of the police being too stupid to see the little details and have to go trialing along in the wake of The Great Detective.
Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just getting a little jaded from reading so many mysteries. Elementary, my dear readers.