The Helium Murder

Helium Cover

By Camille Minichino

In this second Gloria Lamerino mystery, Camille Minichino introduces us to Congresswoman Margaret Hurley, killed by a hit-and-run driver weeks before she casts a critical vote in the House Science and Technology Committee. Gloria is convinced that Margaret's death is related to her decision to vote against maintaining the government's helium reserves. There's no shortage of motives for murder among Margaret's friends and relatives, from her gambling brother, Buddy Hurley, to her ex-lover, Patrick Gallagher, all the way to Texas where a software company CEO, William Carey, has been reaping profits from the helium operation. Gloria's old boyfriend Peter Mastrone, her new almost-boyfriend, homicide detective Matt Gennaro, and her funeral director friends Rose and Frank Galigani, add color to the events that unfold in her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts. Gloria's own life is threatened as she deciphers the clue Margaret herself gave before she died, and once again fulfills her contract to help the police find a killer.




From: Booklist / April 15, 1998
*Minichino, Camille. The Helium Murder. June 1998. l92p.
Avalon, 401 LaFayette St. New York, NY 10003, $17.95 (0-8034-9298-7).

Helium may not seem like the most exciting subject for a mystery plot, but in Minichino's hands, the periodic table can be a lethal weapon. Gloria Lamerino has returned to Boston after years of working as a research scientist in California. Now ensconced in an apartment located over her best friend's funeral parlor, Gloria turns sleuth when she's asked to consult in the investigation of a murder. Congresswoman Margaret Hurley was on a committee charged with dispersing the government's helium reserves; she may have been killed for her vote. Keeping the science to an accessible minimum, Minichino directs readers' attention to various suspects and introduces intriguing subplots concerning the death of Gloria's long-ago fiancee and the appearance of a potential new boyfriend. This second in a strong series (following The Hydrogen Murder [Booklist, Dec. 15, '97]) boasts sure-handed plotting and a most appealing star. With more than 100 elements to go, Gloria looks to be in for the long haul. — llene Cooper


From: Publisher's Weekly / May 11, 1998
THE HELIUM MURDER Camille Minichino.
Bouregy/Avalon, $17.95 (192p) ISBN 0-8034-9298-7

In this lighthearted and lightweight second novel by Minichino (The Hydrogen Murder, 1997), finding a murderer seems almost a game. Gloria Lamerino, a retired Berkeley physicist, has returned to Revere, Mass., where she is a science consultant to the police department. Her services are requested after Congresswoman Margaret Hurley is murdered by a hit-and-run driver. Hurley was a member of the House Science and Technology Committee, and Congress was in the midst of debating whether or not to sell the nation's reserve of helium. While Gloria receives some unwanted amorous attention from an old friend, she casts a yearning eye on police sergeant Matt Gennaro and isn't at all upset about the prospect that her work will bring her closer to him. Speculating on the alibis and motives of a motley cast of suspects, Gloria detects links between this murder and the death of her fiance 30 years ago. Her knowledge of chemistry helps her understand the meaning of the last word Hurley uttered and ultimately leads her to the murderer--and nearly to her own death--in the mortuary basement. If the murder motive turns out to be lighter than helium, Gloria's self-deprecating humor and clear-eyed understanding of her own and others' motives make her an engaging sleuth. (June)


From: Library Journal / June 1, 1998
Minichino, Camille.The Helium Murder
Avalon: Thomas Bouregy. Jun. 1998. c.192p. ISBN 0-8034-9298-7. $17.95.

After 30 years in California. physicist Gloria Lamerino has returned to Revere, MA, where she works part-time as a consultant to local police. After reading about the hit-and-run death of a youthful congresswoman crucial to deciding the future of the nation's helium surplus, Gloria cannot wait to investigate. Sergeant Gennaro, her boss as well as her incipient love interest, strives to keep her out of trouble but doesn't always succeed, as with her sudden interest in the "accidental" death of her fiance some 30 years earlier. A tidy mix of romance, intrigue, science, and mystery.


From: Rendezvous / July 1998 Vol 15 No. 2 ISBN 0-8034-9298-7
THE HELIUM MURDER by Camille Minichino
Avalon Hardcover Mystery 6/98

The Gloria Lamerino Table of Elements Series -Book 2. Congresswoman Margaret Hurtley is murdered before she can cast a cntical vote regarding the possible sale of the government's lucrative helium reserves. Suspects abound and physicist Gloria Lamerino is once again requested to assist the police in understanding the scientific components of the case. In this second mystery we learn more about one of the most interesting, believable casts of characters that I've seen in a mystery in a long time. Need an example? How about the fact that Gloria left Revere, MA years before after the mysterious-still unresolved-death of her possibly gangster fiance? How about the fact that she's taken up residence with her old friends, funeral directors Rose and Frank Galigani on the third floor of the funeral home, and now drives one of the retired hearses around town? Minichino demonstrates creativity and sensitivity in her depiction of a "middle aged" woman, Gloria, and her tentative relationship with widowed detective Matt Gennaro. The interplay between characters vies with the fascinating scientific facts as to which constitutes my favorite part of this series. Okay, a close third would be the book to book plotting, the way the author answers some questions in each book leaving the reader hungry for more in the next. THE HELIUM MURDER by Camille Minichino is savvy enough to delight the serious mystery reader and accurate enough to teach us all a little bit more about the greater mysteries-our world and our humanity. I look forward to working my way through the elements with this talented new author and her delicious cast of characters. DBP