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Tropic of Murder: A Nick Hoffman Mystery    by Lev Raphael order for
Tropic of Murder
by Lev Raphael
Order:  USA  Can
Perseverance Press, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Edith Wharton Scholar Nick Hoffman and his partner Stefan decide to take a break from their academic life in wintry Michigan and travel to a sunny, serene Caribbean Club Med. Instead of peace and tranquility, they run into tension, confusion and murder. Hardly the ideal vacation.

Tropic of Murder is Lev Raphael's sixth book in the Nick Hoffman series. The story is fast-paced though the tension builds slowly. The author's many references to lines from books and plays, movies and poetry were entrancing, and not condescending, though they did make me realize how little I know. I loved his dry wit. The look behind the scenes of academe shows that the same type of people lurk behind doors there as in the corporate world.

Raphael's descriptive powers shine. The Club Med his characters visit sounds like heaven on earth. The book is tightly written with almost a paucity of words. But the words he uses are well chosen and make the story flow. The ending happened so quickly, that I almost wasn't sure I understood. It was almost disappointing in its simplicity. Simplicity must be Raphael's byword. But it works for him, and for me too.

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