A Textbook Case (a Lincoln Rhyme story) by Jeffery Deaver


Reviewed by Allen Hott

A Textbook CaseA very interesting short story by Jeffery Deaver featuring his favorite detective, Lincoln Rhyme. As usual Rhyme, the quadriplegic former cop who still works “off the books” for the NYPD, is helped out by his assistant/girlfriend, Amelia Sachs, and a bunch of runners or helpers from the department.

This one involves a bad person who uses fire as his method of killing and each fire is set up by some type of explosion. The first one involved the finding of a young woman who had been found in the underground garage of an apartment building. When Sachs and other officers go down into the garage they are completely astounded by the piles and piles of all types of garbage. Broken light bulbs, bags of trash, cardboard boxes that are stamped down, and other pieces of just plain trash litter the entire murder scene. Knowing Rhyme’s method of solving cases she and several of the officers begin gathering together as much of the trash as is possible.

Taking it back to Rhyme Sachs finds he is ecstatic but also very confused as to why so much and so many different types of trash. But he feels that somewhere in all that mess is the clue to who is the perpetrator so he tells them to put it all in the house and that he and they will investigate it for clues.

It turns out that the victim had actually been backed over by an automobile after having been stunned by some type of brick or rock. Rhyme and his crew determine that the victim, who had been called in as missing by her boyfriend, was killed by what they called Unsub 26. That meant unidentified suspect and number 26 as designated by Rhyme. And now they learn that there has been another crime similar to what they are working on so Sachs goes off to check this one also.

Many other obstacles get into the way of the investigation but everything still points to something in the evidence until Rhyme realizes goes back to his previously published book. This one was all about how a criminal has to get rid of evidence and two of the best ways are to overload the scene with evidence that has no relativity and the second is to burn as much of the critical evidence as possible. Rhyme figures someone read his book and is following the thought.

Rhyme’s troops begin the exhaustive job of finding who recently bought his book. And guess what? No don’t guess….just get the novella and read it! You will enjoy this as much as Deaver’s mystery novels!!