Science Can be Murder – Jerold Last

Science Can Be Murder combines three books from the Roger and Suzanne South American Mystery series into one omnibus volume. The first book in the series, the novel “The Ambivalent Corpse”, is an ideal introduction to the series characters. Parts of a dismembered corpse are found on a rocky stretch of beach in Montevideo, Uruguay, apportioned equally between Memorials to a German cruiser sunk in World War II and to the Jews killed in the Holocaust. Roger and Suzanne travel from Uruguay to Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay to solve this baffling and grotesque murder case.

In the novella “The Body in the Parking Structure” a Bolivian colleague of Suzanne’s is found dead in a parking garage on the UCLA campus. There are possible ties to a small biotechnology company in Los Angeles.

The third novel, “The Origin of Murder”, is set in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. As Roger and Suzanne retrace the path that Charles Darwin sailed and walked more than 175 years ago, the body count increases almost as fast as the clues. The stories are all tied together by Suzanne’s skills and interest in biomedical science (like the author, she’s a biochemist on the faculty of The University of California).