In the Midst of Death Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of In the Midst of Death

Jerry Broadfield, an admittedly crooked cop, hires Matthew Scudder to help him prove he's not shaking down a prostitute, Portia Carr. Carr claims Broadfield charges her $100 per week, plus occasional sex, to let her stay in business. Broadfield is working with Abner Prejaninan, an investigator to expose corruption in the New York Police Department.
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Scudder, himself a former cop and now an unlicensed private investigator, believes Broadfield is exaggerating the level of corruption. He is, however, willing to take his money and try to persuade Carr to back off. In between his questioning and seeking, Scudder spends a good deal of time in bars. He's an alcoholic, but refuses to face up to his problem.
The job becomes more complex, however, when Carr's body turns up in Broadfield's apartment. Broadfield claims he answered a telephone call sending him out to Brooklyn to meet with a go-between who can help him get Carr off his back. There's no go-between, but while Broadfield is away, the body is dumped in his apartment. Now, he's prepared to pay Scudder a much higher fee to find the killer.
Broadfield sends Scudder to pick up his fee from his wife, and while he's there Scudder has sex with Diana Broadfield. It looks like the beginning of an intense affair.
Scudder has also been getting his sometime girlfriend, a prostitute named Elaine Mardell, to get background on Carr.
As he delves into Broadfield's affairs Scudder discovers that he hoped to write a book about police corruption. Carr was also planning a book on the life of a prostitute. The connection seems to be a Doug Fuhrmann, a writer who hopes to ghost one or both books.
Then Leon Maunch, an assistant to the mayor and a former client of Portia Carr's apparently commits suicide just after Scudder questions him about his relationship with the late prostitute. Then Fuhrmann is murdered just after asking Scudder to see him about some information.
Almost anyone in the police department might have a motive to kill Broadfield. The other murders convince him, however, that he is looking for someone else. He feels under pressure to catch him before he kills again.

The review of this Book prepared by David Gordon

Chapter Analysis of In the Midst of Death

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   Dry-cynical How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   1960's-1970's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

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


City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references    -   descript of kissing Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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