Ross Pennie is the third new mystery writer I’ve discovered in the past few months. His book Tainted: A Dr. Zol Szabo Medical Mystery, (published by ECW Press) is a different kind of mystery, it doesn’t involve detectives or cops (or even Copps – sorry, that’s an “in” joke for Hamiltonians). Dr. Zol Szabo, the associate medical officer of health for the municipality of Hamilton-Lakeshore, is plunged into detective work of a sort trying to discover if 7 cases of what seems to be variant CJD (Creutzfeld-Jacob disease aka mad cow) stem from a local source, or can they all breathe a little easier knowing that these unfortunate people contracted this deadly disease outside their jurisdiction and this isn’t a possible local epidemic in the making. Working with an amazing team of researchers & doctors, each of whom think they are on the right track to finding the source, we see just how complicated and difficult it is to trace the guilty culprit (in this case – tulip-shaped prions). Great character development, fascinating medical bits and lots of twists and turns along the medical corridor make this a really good book. Plus I loved the occasional references to Hamilton. I hope Pennie is hard at work on his next book. I’m sure he will have a huge following of avid readers.

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