Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Nobody's Perfect

Nobody's Perfect (1969) by Douglas Clark

Adam Huth, the chairman of Barugt (pronounced Barf--seriously?) Pharmaceuticals, would seem to be the exception that proves the rule. When he's found poisoned at his desk in his office, Inspector Masters and Sergeant Green from the Yard are called in to discover who wanted him dead. As the investigation goes on, it appears that everybody thought Huth was perfectly fine. He seemed to put his people before profits. He tried to make decisions that were in the best interest of people--even though those decisions ultimately were best for the company as well. Everyone who works for him has positive things to say about him. Even his wife, though they don't share a bed any more, seems to think quite a bit of him. The Scotland Yard team has to dig quite a bit to find any dirt that will stick and to find a motive urgent enough to spawn a murder.

Overall, this is a so-so beginning to what I consider to be a really good police procedural series. I'm actually really glad that I didn't read these in order because I don't think that this would have reeled me in the way later books did. You would think it would because this is actually more of a classic mystery than the later books--which focus a bit more on the interesting and out-of-the-ordinary ways to knock off people you'd like out of the way. Clark came from the pharmaceutical industry himself, so he was able to come up with all sorts of ingenious ways to kill. Nobody's Perfect has a more straight-forward poisoning and is more concerned with motives. This is probably the most interesting part of the book--though I have to say I find the motive chosen as the driving force to be a little thin. Maybe it would have been more powerful in 1969, but it seemed to me that there were stronger motives OR the one chosen could have been handled a bit differently to make it stronger

But what I found most disappointing was the introduction of Masters and Green. I knew from reading the later books that the team-up had started pretty rocky and the competition still rears its head once in a while, but at bottom they are good guys who respect each other. Here--there is none of the respect. And, quite frankly, they both are irritating and annoying and downright unlikable--until the final two chapters. Then, we get just a gleam of the people we'll know in later installments. ★★ for a good plot and interesting investigation of motives. There are also some well-drawn characters among the pharmaceutical employees that make this worthwhile.

Deaths =  (one poisoned)
Calendar of Crime: October (primary action)

First Line: It was a bright Tuesday morning in October.
Last Line: Masters took her arm and escorted her out of the office.

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