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In an American university, a professor is working late. Finally, he makes his way to his car in the darkness. Someone steps out from behind a tree and shoots him dead at point blank range, then drives away philosophising to himself that the end justifies the means. Detective Jason Colbert and his partner Mark Davis are assigned to investigate the case. Colbert's many successes have been because he is willing to bend the rules in order to get results - like the murderer, he believes that the end justifies the means.
The action moves to the Dallas Museum of Art where rich, beautiful widow Geneva Caldwell is chairing a fund-raising event. She meets two handsome, rich men - Brock and Grady, who soon become rivals for her affections. They discuss art and the philosophy of Plato, by way of small talk. Dick Karlson and his wife join the discussion and they all agree to meet regularly to continue their discussions. There, Herb and Doris Goodman join them, together with a much younger man, a student called Stuart Langford. Further murders lead Colbert to the philosophy club, where he meets the dying Doris and together, they solve the mystery...
I'm a fan of both murder mysteries and philosophy, so this book seemed right up my street. I must say that it was never boring and I was never tempted to skim passages or miss out chunks. It is true that the kindle version is imperfect, with page number and the author's name appearing at random points in the text, but I did not find it all that distracting. In fact, it is sadly true that many self-published books are pretty badly edited, so that one gets used to it!
I'm not sure whether the things that I did not like were because the author needs to develop his writing skills or simply because he was writing in an alien American style. The story moved along at a good pace, with plenty of dialogue and plenty of action. I liked the idea of a philosophy club and of linking the murders to the philosophers being discussed; it is quite original - I haven't seen a book like that before. It also offered an opportunity to give the book real depth and to examine both the ideas and the characters of the main protagonists in the book. However, the opportunity was largely missed. We got a rather irrelevant-seeming passage on what each famous philosopher thought, in a way that would excite nobody and awaken nobody to the sheer mental and imaginative stimulus that studying philosophy can bring. This may be because the author was aware that he needed to keep up the pace of the book and so had to skim ideas that needed more illumination and lively discussion.
Although the central idea is quite original, the choice of characters and social setting lets it down. It is set (like so many American stories) among the rich and beautiful. To Brits, it seems a bit improbable that people with that kind of background would bother to get together for an amateurish philosophy club, rather like a British book club in a suburban semi. However, it is possible that we do not understand American culture, where people are pretty sociable and have more of a taste for getting together with others at every opportunity. Also, these were cultured and highly educated people who perhaps wanted to meet others who could discuss interesting topics on their level. it is just a pity the discussions are not better written. The characters are meant to be pretty intelligent yet, to anyone with any knowledge at all of philosophy, their comments are pretty banal.
The book reminded me of an episode of 'Murder She Wrote.' The depth and quality of dialogue were about the same and there was even an older lady helping with the police investigation in a slightly unlikely way. It was an entertaining and undemanding read, the sort of thing one could read on holiday when one does not want to have to think too hard. There wasn't much subtlety or wit. The idea had a lot of potential which could have been developed by a better writer into something really good. Perhaps that better writer is David S Alkek with more experience of writing?
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on 27 December 2014
Sorry but i'm afraid this is a very poor piece of writing and doesn't stand any real scrutiny. it's only saving grace is that it was free.

It has been sat in my library for quite some time before i got around to reading it. I wish I hadn't. Don't get me wrong i admire anyone who can put together a book of any sort, I know I couldn't but if you do, I suggest you get someone to critique it first. The dialogue is stilted at best and sounds more like a childrens play just with longer words. The plot itself could have some merit if handled properly but there are some simply unbelievible flaws in the main character that remove all credibility from the book.
This sound a bit harsh but as another reviewer said, i'll never get that time back. Don't give up writing but check it first with a impartial person/publisher
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on 5 February 2014
Wordy and clumsy, it certainly didn't spark any interest in either the murder mystery or in philosophy - in fact, the philosophy angle seemed a little forced in.
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on 19 February 2016
A good read
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on 2 December 2013
I can't remember the last time I didn't finish a book but this was so poorly written, I finally gave up.
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on 6 December 2013
So you decide to write a murder mystery. You research background details, spending hours with your nose buried in philosophy books; you develop characters, become emotionally involved with them. It's more than a book, it's a labour of love...and then after publishing it in Kindle format, you fail to check how it appears when downloaded.

If this was an exiting, thrilling and realistic murder mystery, the issues with page layout would be a minor annoyance. As it is, it makes the clunking dialogue and faux bonhomie - mainly between the detective and Doris - completely unpalatable. One can accept the exaggerated characterisation and predictable plot, but the quite frankly poor writing style and aforementioned formatting problems tips this novel from light holiday fiction into trash.

I almost expected the cancer-stricken Doris, who later makes a miraculous recovery with the aid of unspecific "new trial drug", to be the murderess - purely because that would be the sort of far-fetched 'twist' that a clumsy writer would throw in, in a last ditch attempt to add some unexpected drama to the story. Luckily, the author keeps a scrap of credibility by this not being the case, but unlike the Professor Niemann in the closing chapters, this book cannot be saved.
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on 18 December 2013
a collection of rather self satisfied people who meet to discuss philosophy. i might have benn tempted to bump them off myself
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on 4 December 2013
Too heavy on philosophical quotes from an unbelievable group. Unrealistic storyline, how often does a detective work with a senior citizen diagnosed with cancer.
I did like the overall plot where the murders were connected to various well known people, but there was just too much reference to all the various philosophers a d I found myself skipping big chunks of each chapter to carry on with the investigative story.
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on 25 October 2015
Pretty dire.

The author has found a copy of Philosophy for Dummies and picked half a dozen philosophers, then bumped off characters who are vaguely something to do with it. The dialogue is clunky, the plot is clunky.

I'm at Murder #4 and seriously wondering whether to bother, because I don't care.

Well, I finished it. I see no reason to change my initial assessment. This is a first draft of a novel by someone who wanted to be published but isn't very practiced at writing for the enjoyment of readers. I'm fairly sure I got this as a freebie - I really hope that I didn't pay money for it. But it isn't a bad first draft - it just needs more time spent on it. Hint - if you want to write dialogue, listen more to people talking.

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on 2 December 2013
The editing is very poor, numbers in odd places, odd capital letters, odd placement at start of paragraphs. The writing reads like a poor translation, however the story is average, enough to hold your interest on wet day.
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