Cover image for The lithium murder
The lithium murder
Minichino, Camille.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W. Morrow, [1999]

Physical Description:
231 pages ; 25 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



A new mystery in this unique series based on the 109 elements of the periodic table plunges plucky physicist Gloria Lamerino into an explosive mixture of hard science and sudden death. Synthesize Angela Lansbury's Jessica Fletcher with pure essence of Sue Grafton. Add a pinch of Patricia Cornwell as catalyst. Stir vigorously, then stand back--because once this formula starts to fizz, it's definitely volatile. Someone could get killed.In fact, someone does--an elderly janitor at a government-funded lab in Revere, Massachusetts--and when the homicide cops investigate, their first reaction is that they need the expert assistance of someone who knows her way around the table of elements. That would be Gloria Lamerino, retired-physicist-turned-scientific-consultant to Revere's police department, and the feisty, adventurous, intelligent heroine of Minichino's provocative and original series of mysteries.

It isn't long before Gloria develops a hypothesis: The lab's hush-hush lithium experiments aren't the only secrets she'll uncover before her research project is done, if she lives so long. After all, one man's dead already--and lithium can be very deadly.

Featuring an engaging, not-so-young heroine with both brains and hips; her lovable boyfriend, Matt Gennaro; and a quirky, believable cast of Italian-American characters, this thoroughly gripping thriller is clever and precisely plotted enough to rival Agatha Christie . . . if she'd only had a Ph.D. in physics and a Yankee twang.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In the densely populated mystery world, an original concept is hard to come by. Perhaps a series based on elements of the periodic table is stretching things a bit, but--unlike Sue Grafton--Camille Minichino has a possible 106 books left after this third one. Dr. Gloria Lamerino, the fifty-something plump heroine, has retired from physics research and returned to her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts. Since coming home, Gloria has a new vocation--helping the police solve murders with a connection to science. Unfortunately, this often causes friction with her companion (a word she prefers to boyfriend), homicide detective Matt Gennaro. When an elderly janitor who worked in a lab doing secret lithium experiments is killed, spunky Gloria starts investigating. Although the plot is rather ordinary, Minichino's quirky setting and ethnic characters keep things interesting. This will appeal to fans of Carolyn Hart's Henrie 0 series. --Jenny McLarin

Publisher's Weekly Review

Gloria Lamerino, 56, amply proportioned and turning gray, makes for an unlikely sleuth. Yet as her quietly engrossing third outing (after The Hydrogen Murder and The Helium Murder) quickly shows, the former Berkeley physics professor brings sharply defined skills to her new job as science consultant to the Revere (Mass.) Police Department. As depicted in a prologue related in the third person (the rest of the novel is narrated by Lamerino), Michael Deramo, a janitor in the physics department at the local university, has been strangled after overhearing a plot to conceal environmental hazards associated with the development of a new lithium battery. The two leading researchers on the project admit to police that they were about to bribe Deramo to keep quiet. But much more is going on. Deramo's snobby and upwardly mobile son, who regards the family patriarch as a social disaster, is a patent attorney who stands to make a fortune from the new product. As Lamerino, in her well-mannered way, interviews a daughter-in-law, a step-grandson and an evil-minded lawyer, she utilizes not only her considerable scientific background but also her shrewd and comprehensive knowledge of Italian history, mores and family dynamics. Narrative suspense is buoyed further by Lamerino's low-key romance with a homicide detective. This is a tightly knit story with a heroine so refreshingly different that readers will be pleased to note that Minichino, herself a retired physicist, has 104 elements from the periodic table left to go. Agent, Elaine Koster. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Minichino continues her elements-based series (The Helium Murder, LJ 6/1/98) with a traditional "murder in the prolog": the retirement-age janitor of a classified lithium research facility dies because of something he overhears in the lab. When Gloria Lamerino, 50-ish and full-bodied science consultant to the Revere, MA, police department, hears of the murder, curiosity compels her to investigate. Lucky for her, boyfriend Matt, a homicide detective, makes the research legal. Minichino fleshes out the plot with gentle humor, amiable series characters, and frissons of imminent danger. For all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.