The Probability of Murder
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Dr. Sophie Knowles is enjoying a math party with her students and looking forward to a special weekend with her boyfriend, medevac pilot Bruce Granville, when suddenly everyone's cell phones start ringing. Charlotte Crocker, the librarian and a good friend of Sophie, has been found murdered in the library!
Everyone is surprised when they learn that the beloved librarian was involved with gambling scams. Did someone she cheat come to get even? If so, who: a student or faculty member or did someone sneak onto campus? Sophie wants to know, especially when a little detective work will help distract her from the fact that her boyfriend may have been hurt in an avalanche while ice climbing.
The Probability of Murder is a mix of cozy mystery and suspenseful general fiction. Sophie decides to solve a murder mystery (which takes only half of the pages) while worrying about her boyfriend who may have been hurt while engaged in a dangerous sport activity. This is the second novel in a series, but you don't need to read the previous book to understand this one and this novel didn't spoil the mystery in the first book.
I should warn you that Sophie does not use logic to solve this case. Granted, logical people don't always act logically, and it's realistic that she's very emotional in this situation. She even wonders where "the logical Sophie went."
The problem is that I picked up this book expecting her to use logic to solve the mystery. Instead we get scenes like the one where she sees where a series of facts is pointing but she likes the person it points to, so she decided that following where the facts lead "isn't logical." Or a scene were she's told a certain person is probably a dangerous killer and to stay away from them, and instead she confronts them with a "so you killed her..." and thinks that's rational behavior.
Due to a twist about the victim by the end, I also felt that some of the things we initially learned about the victim were left unexplained by this new slant about what she was doing. I didn't feel very satisfied by the mystery.
However, I did enjoy the loving and supportive relationship Sophie had with her boyfriend and how she had to deal with the risks he took in his job and his hobbies. The characters acted in realistic ways and dealt with realistic issues. The suspense was high due to the worry about the boyfriend's safety and the threat of a killer on campus.
There was no explicit bad language and no sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this mystery as long as you aren't expecting a Sherlock Holmes type logic to be used in solving the case.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
Another Friday, another party in the Benjamin Franklin Hall lounge, the most rocking place on the Henley College campus. Putting Henley, Massachusetts, on the map.
Pity the poor humanities majors, with no building to call their own, no colorful mathematicians and scientists to celebrate.
Today the honoree was mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius.
"The wicked superhero," cracked computer genius Daryl Farmer, a freshman all the way from California. "How old is the dude? Like, two hundred and seven?" Daryl stood with one hand in his jeans pocket, the other on his hip. Apparently the guy was unconcerned about aggravating his statistics professor, who could manipulate his grade. If I were so inclined.
"Two twenty-one," I said, amazed at how close he'd come.