Item description for Double Negative (Felony & Mayhem Mysteries) by David Carkeet...
Dedicated to the study of toddlers and their development of verbal skills, the Wabash Institute should be staffed by kinder, gentler scholars, but instead is home to a nest of sublimely cranky academics. When one of them is bludgeoned to death, Jeremy Cook -- the Institute's premier scholar and the book's socially clueless hero -- becomes the prime suspect. To clear his name, Cook resolves to solve the case, even if it means taking time off from his hobby of teaching imaginary words to the Institute's tiny "subjects." While gleefully skewering academia, Carkeet -- himself a professor of linguistics -- also provides a spectacularly ingenious puzzle. "Mystery stories that have a really original solution to the crime are very rare," said the New York Times Book Review, "but Dr. Carkeet has found one."
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Reviews - What do customers think about Double Negative (Felony & Mayhem Mysteries)?
Double Disgusting May 5, 2008
This book actually won an award? I will give it the Useless Profanity Award. What the *%#!@ does the "_" word and all the "g-d d--ns" have to do with a good mystery? I threw it in the trash after Chapter 3. I consider myself an average reader but the profanity was wa-a-a-ay too distracting. I wasted my money and my time. Hopefully this review will save yours.
disappointing Feb 10, 2008
I found this book to be silly. It is not really a mystery. It focuses heavily on whether the central characters like one another or not. And this reader did not care!
Novel vrs Mystery Aug 16, 2007
I won't repeat the story line since others have already done that. And in fact I will also pass on it's standing as a novel. I agree with others that the characters are mostly charming if a bit quirky and the sub-plot of linguistics is quite interesting.
I'll chose instead to focus most of my remarks on it's place within the mystery genre. And here, unfortunately, it really doesn't hit the mark. My bias is toward mysteries that pull you along. That is, provide you with clues and diversions that engage you as the reader to match wits with the author. To see if you can solve the crime before everything is revealed. Naturally the best of these also have characters that we care about, scenes that feel alive and suspense that keeps you turning the pages.
Double Negative does have interesting characters and the scenes do feel authentic but there really isn't any suspense and most of the clues center on who loves or hates Jeremy, not on whom the murderer might be.
Enjoyable read, but don't go out of your way to find a copy.
Carkeet's first book and only mystery Dec 13, 2006
The first title of a trilogy featuring the central character, Jeremy Cook, a linguist who in this mystery is employed in a research lab/day-care center where the scientists study the development of language in children. When one of the researchers is discovered dead in Cook's office he becomes the prime suspect. Eventually, however, the answer comes from the mouths of babes. This was Carkeet's first book, and his only straightforward mystery. Its quirky-but-likeable characters are well-suited to the form, but the two succeeding volumes ("The Full Catastrophe," 1990, and "The Error of Our Ways," 1997) were set in more conventional, albeit bizarre, situations. All three are concerned with the effect of speech (or lack of it) in interpersonal relationships. Carkeet is also the author of "The Greatest Slump of All Time," (1984), a superb novel about baseball players; "I Been There Before, (1985), about the resurrection of Mark Twain; "The Silent Treatment," (1988), a novel for young adults; and "Campus Sexpot," (2005), a memoir of his high-school days in Sonora, CA in the early 1960s and the effect on the town by the publication of a steamy roman-a-clef that was written by a former teacher.
unusual setting and character... warm and funny... Aug 8, 2005
Just picked this up and enjoyed it thoroughly! Unusual setting is a linguistics facility doubling as day care center. (They study the evolution of language in toddlers.) One of the linguists is run over at night and the mystery begins.
It's intelligent, humorous, and human as our hero, Jeremy Cook, stumbles along being head smart, heart dumb, dealing with a quirky police lieutenant, a beautiful young graduate student, a napoleonic department head, and fellow academic linguists who like him more than he realizes.
The plot twist is unusual but what really makes the book endearing is being inside Jeremy's head and hearing human concerns expressed through bookish terms in a warm and funny way. I've ordered the next two already.