The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett #AVirtualCrimeBookClub – January Book

First in the David Hunter series

Book blurb

Dr David Hunter hoped he might at last have put the past behind him. But then they found what was left of Sally Palmer . . . 

It isn’t just that she was a friend that disturbs him. Once he’d been a high-profile forensic anthropologist and all too familiar with the many faces of death, before tragedy made him abandon this previous life. 

Now the police want his help. 

But to become involved will stir up memories he’s long tried to forget. Then a second woman disappears, plunging the close-knit community into a maelstrom of fear and paranoia. 

And no one, not even Hunter, is exempt from suspicion.

Gruesome and gripping, this startling new British crime thriller has an unnerving and original twist.

My thoughts

This is a well written book and a terrific read. The first in what is now a six book series with, no doubt, more to come.

David Hunter is a good character in this opening book he has given up his career as an forensic anthropologist to become a G.P. after a personal tragedy finds him unable to carry on.

The book opens with an atmospheric beginning which explains what has happened to David and his new start in the Norfolk village of Manham. Three years later David has his own house, few friends, he has settled in but still feels a bit of an outsider.

When two brothers find a body David’s life starts to change once more. The Police want his help. He gets close to Jenny, a teacher, who lives in the village. He gets more and more tangled up in the investigation.

Helping the police puts added pressure on Henry whose practice David is a G.P. in and where he has been taking on more of the work over the years he has been there. Henry took David on when he decided that, after a tragic car accident were his wife died and he lost the use of his legs, he could no longer cope by himself.

It’s a dark tale of kidnap and murder. David is caught up in the investigation as a G.P., as a forensic pathologist and through his friendship of the victim. There are yet more kidnappings, a seemingly unrelated body, more deaths. As the tension in the village rises it overspills into violence and mistrust. The local vicar is very vocal which isn’t necessarily helpful.

The sense of place is very good in this well written book with some terrific characters, it is dark yet not overtly graphic. It may have one or two moments, possibly because when it was written some of the tools used to supply information and back story now seem a little dated, that irk but it is compelling and a good first book for a series. I would read more of the series and recommend it.

Book: purchased

A Virtual Crime Book Club

Click image for information

The Chemistry of Death was our latest book club read. For all information about the Virtual Crime Book Club visit The Virtual Crime Book Club where you will find links to our zoom meetings, how to sign up and much more.

Here’s the discussion but beware spoilers! The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett. The book club met on Monday 25th January 2021 at 8 pm GMT (UK time zone).

The voting for February is now closed but why not join us? We are reading and discussing Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club. The next meeting is 8 pm (UK timezone) Monday 22nd February. You will need to be a member of the book club to get your zoom invite so please do join HERE. We’d love to see you!


Publisher: Transworld Digital (Penguin Books) | 27 July 2012 | ISBN: 978144812668 | 448 Pages

Buy: Hive | AmazonSmileUK | Your local bookshop

Note: eBook currently 99p


Author: Simon Beckett is the No.1 International Bestselling author of the David Hunter series. His books have been translated into 29 languages, appeared in the Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller lists and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. A former freelance journalist who has written for The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday and The Observer, the inspiration for the first David Hunter novel came after a visit to the world-renowned Body Farm in Tennessee introduced him to the work of forensic anthropologists.

As well as co-winning the Ripper Award in 2018/19, the largest European crime prize, Simon has won the Raymond Chandler Society’s ‘Marlowe’ Award and been short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger, CWA Dagger in the Library and Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year. 

In addition to the six David Hunter titles, the most recent of which is The Scent of Death, he has written five standalone novels, one of which, Where There’s Smoke, was adapted into a major ITV two-part drama. 

Find out more on Website, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram


Check out all Simon Beckett’s books Published Books

David Hunter Series


Looking for thoughtful discussions about books and beverages? Well, you've come to the right place.

Taking On a World of Words

Homepage for fledgling writer Sam A. Stevens

Books, Cats, Etc.

A place to share my love of books, old and new


Thinking, writing, thinking about writing...


Book reviews by someone who loves books ...

Just One More Chapter

Book Reviews & More

Years of Reading Selfishly

Life is too short to read books you don't love

Crime Cymru

The Welsh Crime Writing Collective

Sharon Dempsey

First Chapter

Beverley's Reads

Book Reviews & The Joy of Reading

the dead authors club

a classics club blog


The poetry and writing of Ailsa Cawley. Welcome!

The Last Word Book Review

Musings about books and a blog journal

Crime Writer Margot Kinberg

...a crime-fictional site

Hugh's Views & News  

WordPress & Blogging tips, flash fiction, photography and lots more!

The Classics Club

A Community of Classics Lovers

Reading Matters

Book reviews of mainly modern & contemporary fiction

Raven Crime Reads

Criminally good reads

The book review café

Book reviews and the occasional ramblings of a book blogger

A crime readers blog

A place for crime fiction reviews and occasional ramblings of a 40 something in York

A Fangirl's Opinion

One Girl, Too Many Books

Jen Med's Book Reviews

Musings and Ramblings of a Disorganised Blogger

Digital Reads Media

Shalini's Digital Reads & Promotions

KayCKay Book Reviews

No one ever reads the same book. We all react to the written word differently. The following are my opinions regarding the books I have read.

Being Anne...

Books, travel, and other things that make life interesting

What Cathy Read Next...

For book lovers everywhere

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Book related stuff in English and Dutch!

Nordic Lighthouse

Spotlight on Nordic / Scandinavian crime fiction... and connections

Novel Deelights

Escaping reality one book at a time

Jess Bookish Life

Reader | Writer | Blogger

Scribbling Clouds

The place where I put down all my thoughts and observations

Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

A book blog with a speculative focus

Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader

Reading under the light of a Carolina moon



Ah Sweet Mystery!

Celebrating the Golden Age of Detection in books and on screen

Bibliophile Book Club

Books, reviews and more...


Life in Newcastle and beyond...

Reviews by Chloé

Feast your eyes on all the books that I have absolutely LOVED


Book reviews and random musings

%d bloggers like this: