A Murder Mystery

by John W. Simpson,
202 pages,
ISBN: 1551280485

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First Novels - More than Another Word
by Eva Tihanyi

Undercut (Mercury, 191 pages, $17.50 paper), by John Worsley Simpson, is one of Mercury's Midnight Originals, the publisher's mystery series. Unfortunately, this is not one of the most original books in their line-up.

The story is set in east-end Toronto, where Chris Andrews, a young geologist, is found slumped over the computer in his home office, murdered. The detective assigned to the case is Harry Stark, a hard-boiled kind of guy tormented by his accidental shooting of a bystander during a robbery: a young boy.

Overall, the book moves along at a reasonable pace, Simpson having provided Stark with a list of plausible suspects (including Chris's wife and his business partner) and a personality with enough rough edges to make him almost interesting. Undercut is a mechanically competent novel-in plotting, characterization, writing style-but it is not particularly memorable.


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