All Cry Chaos
A Henri Poincaré Mystery by Leonard Rosen
Review: Leonard Rosen introduces Interpol officer Henri Poincaré, the great-grandson of the famed French mathematician Jules Henri Poincaré, in the superbly crafted murder mystery All Cry Chaos.
An explosion in a hotel room in Amsterdam kills its occupant, Harvard professor James Fenster, who was to give a presentation at the World Trade Organization meeting being held in the city. Jurisdiction for investigating the case falls to Interpol; though the crime took place in The Netherlands, Fenster was an American and the source of the explosion — rocket fuel — could only have come from a small number of scientific laboratories around the world. Other factors present themselves as questions for Poincaré. The precision of the explosion — it destroyed only a single room in the hotel — and the fact that Fenster was apparently well respected by his colleagues and his research on the mathematics of nature, while somewhat controversial, was not considered to be a threat to anyone. Separately, Poincaré's family is threatened by a man he put away for crimes against humanity.
Riveting is an overused word with respect to crime novels, but in this case it is perfectly apt. All Cry Chaos is written in an accomplished manner, with such an absorbing plotline, that once started it is hard to put down. The character of Henri Poincaré, an Interpol officer nearing retirement, is so well developed that he feels like an old friend, yet this is his first appearance in a novel. Indeed, this is the author's first book of fiction.
The murder mystery plot is incredibly complicated with a large number characters participating in several intersecting storylines, and while Poincaré often feels overwhelmed by the case — he has a personal stake in its outcome — it never feels that way to the reader. The only plot element that seems slightly superfluous is a religious organization's countdown to the end the world, an unnecessary inclusion that adds little to the overall storyline other than to provide a setting for the final settling of accounts, as it were. Still, that is a minor quibble in an otherwise exceptional debut, clearly one of the year's best mysteries and a sure contender for award recognition next year.
Acknowledgment: One Potata Public Relations provided an ARC of All Cry Chaos for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in All Cry Chaos: Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Cambridge, Massachusetts; France; Austria
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All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen — A Henri Poincaré Mystery
Publisher: The Permanent Press
Publication Date: September 2011
List Price: $29.00