The Natural Victim by Peter Reynard

The Natural Victim 21999, Ohio State University and grad student Dieter Fox, avid collector and reader of crime fiction, leaps at the chance to investigate when a real murder occurs on campus. But everyone can see that Eric Wanbois is guilty – even his lawyer seems to think so. After all, it was Eric’s ID that was used to enter the building on the night of the crime. But why on earth did he use it three times? Dieter decides to try out his sleuthing talents – but as things develop, it seems that almost everyone has a secret, even Eric himself. But did anyone hate the victim enough to actually murder him?

This will be a short review, as this is a short read – a novella, rather than a book. But is it worth your time?

Most definitely. The author here has decided not to try anything desperately original but to tell a straightforward and rather clever murder mystery without decorating it with the current trends for gloominess, sex or violence.

The writing style is narrated by Dieter’s flatmate – not sure he gets named, I might have missed it – very much in the style of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Our narrator compares himself to Watson or Hastings, and the second is more relevant to the style of the story as this is much more of a mystery than anything that Doyle gave us. The solution is one of the “what makes sense of all the facts” one, and, although the murderer ought to be spottable, I missed it, to be honest.

All in all, this is well worth your time – it’s available from Amazon for a couple of quid as an ebook, and is Recommended.

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