A Case of Need by Michael Crichton (using pseudonym Jeffery Hudson)

A Case of NeedA Case of Need by Jeffery Hudson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This medical murder mystery is very early Crichton, and thus among his best work. He wrote it under a pseudonym because he expected to practice medicine and didn’t want his patients to think he’d write about them. The story takes place in the 1960s, in the same time frame it was written, and has a dated feel. Black people are Negroes. Abortion is illegal almost everywhere. Doctors and nurses do everything on paper or on the phone. The plot centers around a botched abortion. Dr. Art Lee, a Chinese-American OB-GYN and sometimes abortionist is charged with murder when the woman dies. He claims he never performed the botched abortion. The main character is his friend John Berry, a pathologist, who does all the sleuthing.

The story line is very tech-heavy, i.e. medical tech and procedure. The medical authenticity is there and enhances the story. The police procedure (or lack thereof) and politics, not so much, but just go with it. It loses plausibility towards the end, and it drags a bit, too, but I was fascinated most of the time.

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