Bright and Deadly Things
Published February 16
Corvus – Atlantic Books
Lexie Elliott is far from the first to make the point that conventional logic has its limitations – or, as she puts it “there are things that science hasn’t got a handle on yet”.
But she stands apart from all the literature majors that have defended their visceral thinking in that she earned authority as an Oxford theoretical physicist and then a City banker before reinventing herself as a best-selling writer.
She is also not in particularly select company in taking full advantage of the murder-mystery formula, complete with its cliches of suspecting absolutely everyone in a remote location where mobile phones have no signals.
In spite of, or because of all that, her latest iteration of the whodunnit is as compelling as the grandfather clock that she gives the central role in stirring the malice of the netherworld and stoking red-hot tensions in a group of bright, deadly and, on occasions, ruthlessly ambitious Oxford students and academics.
I defy any self-respecting 21st-century woman – or man – not to appreciate her heroine, trained like her creator, in the rigorous scientific method.
Without giving too much away, I also applaud a denouement that does not disappoint, and if the ultimate affirmation of the moral status quo is optimistic, as Emily the heroine might consider, it’s not impossible.
Barbara Lewis © 2023.