Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Seminal Murder by Mary Vermillion

Publisher:         Regal Crest Enterprises

Seminal Murder is the third installment in the Mara Gilgannon mystery series and centers around the murder of a sperm bank director, a friend of Mara’s, but it touches on other issues as well.  Mara’s former partner is going through the heartbreak of a failed series of artificial inseminations.  This gives the story a chance to talk about what some women have to go through in their attempts to have children.  There is also a young character who is trying to find her birth father and is encountering problems because of privacy laws protecting sperm donors, so another sub plot deals with the rights of children to find out about their birth parents.  Finally there is an ultraconservative Christian minister and his flock who may remind the reader of Fred Phelps and his fanatical congregation at the Westboro Baptist Church.  For a book that isn’t very long there is a lot going on.

Mary Vermillion does a good job of tying these different strands together to create a cohesive story.  It would be easy to lose track of the murder with the various topics that are covered, but she never loses sight that, for Mara, it’s about who killed her friend Dr. Grace Everest.  Some of the characters are quirky and, at times, Mara is rather sad.  She’s supposed to be in a relationship with another woman, but she obviously still pines after her ex-lover.  Vermillion doesn’t overplay this however.  It’s a series and she has time to work out that situation with later books. The book has a good pace and the solution to the murder isn’t clear until the end, always a good point for a mystery.

Seminal Murder is a quick entertaining book to read.  It might help to read the first two books in the series to have the background of the continuing characters, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.  This is one of those books that is good for an afternoon.

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