A popular librarian in a chemistry department library is foully poisoned. Can the police solve the heinous crime?
This isn’t a science fiction mystery, but it snuck into Asimov’s Mysteries by virtue of having a strong science background. I’m not sure why it doesn’t sit well with me. Certainly it left the name “Beilstein” burned indelibly into my brain. None of the characters seem terribly interesting, and the motive for the crime—jealousy over a boyfriend—is rather stupid (at least from my perspective). The clue to the identity of the murderer is also rather trivial and not properly foreshadowed so that the reader (who really has no problems in figuring out whodunit) is left unable to prove (as the characters do) the case.
As with “The Dust of Death,” the whole thing tends to remind one of A Whiff of Death, which is not one of Asimov’s better efforts and so the association doesn’t help.