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Mystery Books - Elena Forbes - Die With Me

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Die With Me
Elena Forbes
Anansi 2007
341 pages

Note to publisher: Do not write on the back jacket Elena Forbes is working on a sequel to Die With Me: Who wants to buy and read something that does not conclude? Might as well buy a puzzle with missing pieces. Still, Die With Me, though not a page turner, is not bad. This is your basic detective versus smart serial killer mystery.

DI Mark Tartaglia may not sound as British as Morse or Inspector Davies but he is very much in the mold of the DI one sees on TV. Not that Tartaglia is not an original character and Die With Me by Elena Forbes not a fairly original mystery; they are. When a young girl dies, everyone believes she committed suicide until it is revealed she was seen soon before with an older man. This and a few other clues lead DI Tartaglia to believe he has a serial killer on his hands. This British mystery then becomes a (slow) cat and mouse game between the detective and the killer with a few secondary characters thrown in.

If Die With Me is not a page turner -I often put it down mid chapter to do something else and even started on another mystery novel, and not a great one at that-- it may be because Elena Forbes tries to mix romance with mystery and it just gets in the way. For example, when DS Donovan, who has a crush on Tartaglia, visits his home to discuss the case his sister calls him up for a Sunday blind date she has set up for him and his now engaged ex appears at his door. Perhaps Forbes is trying to show Tartaglia is a complex character by complicating things outside the case itself but it just takes away from the suspense. There is also the subplot about the relationship between Tartaglia's boss and a profiler who doesn't like the detective.

Die With Me by Elena Forbes might also have been much more interesting if the serial killer had been more at the center of this mystery novel. As it is, he bookends it more than anything and the whodunit becomes a bit of a donut.

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