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Accounting for Murder (1964)

by Emma Lathen

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2226122,203 (3.77)7
ePub version. 3rd of 37 best selling Emma Lathen mysteries featuring SVP of the Sloan Guaranty Trust, John Putnam Thatcher, who gets to the bottom of things by cutting through various business goings on, a famous accountant who swooped down on a company to examine the books, dissident shareholders, community groups, and others to examine the financial motives in order to nail the killer. A humorous romp for those who like humor and good writing in their mysteries. Called the American Agatha Christie and Nero Wolfe with Portfolio by the New York Times.… (more)
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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A early book in the classic financial mystery series about John Putnam Thatcher --a troublemaking accountant investigating a calculating machine company is murdered. One of the better ones early in the seroes. ( )
  antiquary | Jun 26, 2015 |
I really like this series.

The main character, John Pulham Thatcher, a banker, gets involved in mysteries, usually murders. The world of finance and accounting is present but not in an " in your face" way. Nevertheless the nuances are there and explained without it sounding like a lecture.

The author in fact comprises 2 women , an economist and a lawyer, who apparently managed to hide their secret for a number of years before it got out.

I have always been fascinated as to how 2 people jointly write a book ( think of the 2 cousins who comprise Ellery Queen). Certainly there is no hint here of cracks showing where one writer starts and fonishes. If one googles , there is a short article explaining their methodology . Fascinating really.

SPOILER ALERT

The essence of identifying the solution of the murder stems from asking why one division of a company which makes widgets for the public barely makes a profit and yet another division of the same company making the same widgets but this time for sale to the military makes handsome profits. If an audit of the unsuccessful division shows no issues one is driven to the only logical alternative....

I look forward to reading more of this series ( and from what I have read to date, it is not necessary to read them sequentially, which is good as I only find these books occasionally in second hand shops and the like).

18 January 2013 ( )
  bigship | Jan 18, 2013 |
I enjoy the wry, some what distant, voice of the narrator who both likes people and sees
the foibles. ( )
  pnorman4345 | Aug 28, 2012 |
This seemed to go hand in hand with The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. Both take place in New York on Wall Street. The big numbers game. I have to admit I was bored by this book. None of the characters interested me enough to care what happened to them (another similarity with The Bonfire of the Vanities). Each and every one of them seemed dull and flat. In addition the plot was slow moving and I kept asking myself "where and when is this murder? I know this guy dies so when does it happen?" Accounting for Murder is supposed to focus on amateur silver-haired detective John Putman Thatcher and yet for the first 60 pages he's barely in the story. Initially, he is invited to a lunch with Mr. Fortinbras who late winds up dead. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Aug 9, 2011 |
When a distinguished accountant is murdered during the audit of a Sloan customer, John Putnam Thatcher must unravel the threads of a clever fraud to find a ruthless killer. ( )
  Bjace | Nov 22, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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Wall Street is the hub of the financial universe, and not the least imposing of its mighty institutions is the Sloan Guaranty Trust, the third largest bank in the world, with branches in twenty-four countries - rumoured to be on the point of acquiring the assets of Wheatman's Mutual.
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ePub version. 3rd of 37 best selling Emma Lathen mysteries featuring SVP of the Sloan Guaranty Trust, John Putnam Thatcher, who gets to the bottom of things by cutting through various business goings on, a famous accountant who swooped down on a company to examine the books, dissident shareholders, community groups, and others to examine the financial motives in order to nail the killer. A humorous romp for those who like humor and good writing in their mysteries. Called the American Agatha Christie and Nero Wolfe with Portfolio by the New York Times.

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