‘The Chemistry of Death’, by Simon Beckett

Grab your cup of coffee, and read this review of “The Chemistry of Death”. Sounds good, right?



I had this book on my shelf for a long time. I bought it on a sale, years ago, with a crazy amount of other books, but as medical school has been keeping me so busy, I haven’t got to it until the year of my graduation. Funny thing is, though I particularly like this genre, the reason I chose this novel was that, at the time, I visited a class titled the same. ‘The Chemistry of Death’. It sounded intriguing. Something… different from other books.


After reading it, I have to say it wasn’t. It was good, but, to me, mediocre. The writer is definitely good with words, and the story absolutely made sense, but to the experienced crime reader it was all too obvious. I noticed all the references, all the little signs that pointed to those included in the murder, and above a certain level I just find this tiring. The point of a mystery is not making the reader feel clever, but achieving that exciting, astonishing point at the end that they say “God, I should’ve known..!” I enjoyed reading it, though.

The other thing I should mention is that as someone a little trained in medical procedures and examinations I found the main character’s manifestations about it a bit unauthentic. They were technically mostly accurate, but it could be felt that it is not the author’s cup of tea. It was a little forced. For example, several times he thought through or reminded himself of something that a trained professional would never have to think about, never have to go through the logic of, because it is a basic thing for them. I get that it is for the layman reader to understand, but I’m pretty sure it could be communicated in some other way. I simply couldn’t get rid of the feeling that the writer doesn’t know exactly what a doctor should be a hundred percent aware of, and that always made me be a little detached from the story. I couldn’t 100% connect to it, while being again and again reminded of this. This probably comes with the profession, though. I can’t read or watch anything medical themed anymore without painfully realizing all the little mistakes made.

Let’s give it a grade!

  1. Story: 3/5
  2. Characters: 3/5
  3. Style: 5/5
  4. The Subjective Factor: 3/5
  • GPA: 3,5


It’s a good crime story, but I don’t think it’s anything truly unique. The author’s style I liked pretty much, that’s probably among the best in the genre.

Recommend to:

Everyone who loves this genre. I know I sound like it’s not that great a book, but it’s definitely not bad. It’s a good one-time read if you’re a fan of classic crime.

Drink tip:


Music room:

Linkin Park. Or U2. Whichever you like better.


All in all, I liked this book. Not a favorite, I don’t think I’m going to read it again, but it was entertaining while it lasted. I’m not sure if I should give a chance to the next volumes in the series.


Do you like crime stories? Who are your favorite authors? Have you read this book, or anything by Simon Beckett? Let’s have a chat in comments! 😉

Hugs 🙂

4 thoughts on “‘The Chemistry of Death’, by Simon Beckett

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