Ben Candidi, a 28-year-old professionally dead-ended techie, is offered "the King's Shilling." Ben is asked to do a little unauthorized undercover sleuthing for his ex-boss, Dr. Geoffrey Westley, the Chief Dade County (Miami, FL) Medical Examiner. Aristocratic, legendary, aging Dr. Westley thinks that one of the pharmacology professors at nearby Bryan Medical School murdered his chairman, using a cleverly selected poison that left no trace.
It seems an easy enough assignment for Ben: just enter the Ph.D. program at Bryan Medical School, innocently gather information on 12 pharmacology professors, figure which prof did it with which poison, and secretly pass the information on to Dr. Westley, who will take it from there. Ben can then go back to working on his Ph.D.
But it's never that easy, even for a Mensa genius. Science projects always take longer than expected. Scientific information isn't harmless, even if it's gathered innocently. Will the information lead back to Ben after an arrest is made and the defense starts getting organized? Does the "information" add up to a forensic proof? Or is it just an elaborate theory concocted by a deluded duo — a young man who hasn't learned enough and an "old boy" who has forgotten too much.
"First-time novelist Dirk Wyle skillfully pairs the tone of the hard-boiled mystery with the intricate scientific detail common to the medical thriller. The result is an excellent whodunit ... a first-class mystery that combines elements of Michael Crichton, Patricia Cornwell, and even Edna Buchanan."
— Booklist Mystery Showcase
American Library Association
"... one fine debut mystery, combining scientific method with a quirky, humanistic scientist/detective and resulting in the perfect compound ... inventive, intriguing, and most importantly, evocatively drawn. If you like a puzzle, you'll love this one."
— Les Standiford, author
This is a work of fiction. Any similarity of characters to individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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I wish to thank Carlisle, Yvonne, Karl, Ellen, Larry, Elena, Gisela, Mary, Daniel, Henry, Winona, Ed, Mary-May, Charles, Ira, Paddy, Sandra, Cynthia, Nancye, Lenore and Douglas (Miami bicyclist, historian and photographer) for their candid reactions to my work while in progress.
This novel is dedicated to all who have known a true love of science — the solitary pursuit of Nature's secrets in the laboratory at three o'clock in the morning.