All the Flowers Are Dying Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of All the Flowers Are Dying

In Lawrence Block's 16th Matthew Scudder mystery, Matt is semi-retired. He agrees to follow his client's mysterious boyfriend to find out if he is what he says he is (i.e. not married, living alone, reasonably prosperous, etc.). This assignment alternates with a description in third person of a psychologist interested in whether a convicted killer can really believe he is innocent despite overwhelming evidence.
Click here to see the rest of this review

We soon discover that the psychologist is not all that he claims to be, and that he himself is a serial killer. His description appears to match that of Matt's client's mysterious boyfriend. When the killer strikes close to home, Matt and his wife, Elaine, take precautions to ensure that they are not the next victims.
While the ending is something of a surprise, you can't fault Lawrence Block for not giving you fair clues along the way, and indeed once the "mystery" is unravelled, the story becomes more of a suspense thriller than a whodunit - or who will be doing it next.
Over the course of the 16 novels, Matt has changed from a drunken cop, a divorced ex-cop, an alcoholic who regularly attends AA meetings, and finally the husband of his second wife, a former call girl. His growth is evident in all these novels, and he emerges with new lessons learned and an appreciation for the dwindling number of his friends who have survived into their 60s, as he has.
The review of this Book prepared by David Gordon

Morrow, Mar 2005, 24.95, 304 pp.
ISBN: 0060198311

Five years ago, someone raped and killed three little children. All the evidence pointed to Preston Applewhite, who though he denied the deed, was convicted and sentenced to execution by lethal injection. New York Dr. Bodinson visits Preston, pretending to believe the convict is innocent. Not long afterward, Preston is killed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In New York, Matthew Scudder, who retired from NYPD thirty years ago, has reduced his private investigative caseload to practically zero as social security, a city retirement pension, and Elaine's income from her shop seems adequate. However, he accepts Louise as a client and looks into the boyfriend David Thompson she met over an Internet dating service. As his simple inquiries tie back to the Applewhite case, he finds evidence of a serial killer who loves to kill when the moment is right. This killer targets the Scudders as his next victims, which means rape and murder is coming home to roost.

Scudder continues to age with each new book but this time grandpa feels old with his mortality confronting him as he attends several “last call” funerals of peers.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of All the Flowers Are Dying

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 15%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 35%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues    -   Moderately Challenging Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   50%    -   80% Special suspect?    -   chronically deranged person Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   character killed during/after sexing    -   killer purposefully leaves puzzle clues    -   Killer purposely leaves clues Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye    -   skilled citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   rapes    -   big city life Crime Thriller    -   Yes Crime plotlets:    -   vigilante getting revenge Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes If story PRIMARILY about main chr. being hunted...    -   hunted by killer/stalker

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   private investigator Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American Unusual characteristics:    -   Mentally ill


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast    -   Mid-Atlantic states

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment    -   very gorey descriptions deaths/dead bodies Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   touching of anatomy    -   actual description of sex    -   rape (yeech!) Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like All the Flowers Are Dying

Lawrence Block Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian