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Lesser Creatures: A Sue Bennett Murder Mystery    by Amy Pirnie order for
Lesser Creatures
by Amy Pirnie
Order:  USA  Can
Carroll & Graf, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

When the action of Lesser Creatures begins, Sue Bennett, the science reporter for a London newspaper, loans her car to a colleague. Then a bomb destroys the car and kills the hapless colleague, and the London police quickly conclude that Sue was the intended target. With someone apparently and inexplicably intent upon killing her, Sue - because of what she sees as the police department's inability to move the investigation along quickly enough - launches her own investigation.

A trail of clues leads Sue to a violent group of animal-rights activists and, more particularly, to a well-known supplier of explosives to terrorists, and it is then that investigators with UK's Special Branch become interested in Sue's inquiries and discoveries. Escalating problems and dangers plague Sue's quest for the truth behind her colleague's murder, and things get more complicated when she uncovers the possibility of police corruption.

Confronting the 'arrogance of evil' and its 'total self-centredness' in both obvious and surprising forms, Sue ultimately finds that her safety - and that of others - is dangerously compromised. Then, when she is kidnapped by criminals intent upon making sure neither they nor the truth are ever discovered, Sue's murder seem imminent and certain.

Filled with forensic scientific details associated with Sue's inquiries - though the details are too often irrelevant to the plot, and too often excessively intrusive upon the narrative by an author who seems determined to share her own extensive scientific knowledge - Lesser Creatures succeeds as a frequently though neither thoroughly nor consistently entertaining mixture of adventure, romance, and excitement. The author's training and skills as a zoologist and teacher are apparent (and obvious in the many details already mentioned); however, her presumed (and promised) abilities as a writer of top-notch murder mysteries do not showcase themselves in Lesser Creatures.

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