Past Mortem Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Past Mortem

Detective Inspector Edward Newson is investigating a series of very unusual murders, which he is certain were committed by a single killer, although the only links between the murders are the bizarre methods of torture and death used by the killer, his habit of playing loud retro music while he kills, and the fact that the victims seem to offer little or no resistance. A powerful construction baron is stabbed 347 times with a skewer dipped in anticoagulant and slowly bled to death. A politician is bleached in powerful acid and then forced to drink it. A former model's face is mauled, and she is left to starve to death while staring at her ruin in a mirror. In all these cases, and several others equally macabre, the victims were unpleasant people, loathed or feared by most of their acquaintance.
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Meanwhile, Ed's personal life takes a nostalgic turn as he signs on to "Friends Reunited", an online high-school meeting place, and gets in touch with many of his former classmates, including two very different ex-girlfriends. Christine Copperfield, the beautiful queen bee of the class of '87, who he went out with for a week at the age of 14, and Helen Smart, the unpopular outsider who he dumped for Christine. A few meetings with Helen reveal that she is troubled by many issues from her past, including her bullying at the hands of golden girl Christine, who on one occasion shoved a tampon down her throat in the girls' changing rooms. Ed is shocked, but the years have not dimmed his fantasy-girl's appeal, and soon he and Christine are headed for a second chance... Until Christine is found murdered in her flat, choked to death with a tampon. Did Helen kill her, in revenge for her past cruelty? Or did the killer have a wider purpose?
The review of this Book prepared by Emma Hearn

Chapter Analysis of Past Mortem

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%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:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, British Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   British


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK City?    -   Yes City:    -   London

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Ben Elton Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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