A Visit to the Dentist
Today I visited the dentist. As I was being fitted for my new crowns I thought about the book I was going to reward myself with when I got home. I always promise myself a reward when I go to the dentist so that I have something delightful to think about while in the dental chair.
The obvious choice today was a murder mystery. No, no, it isn’t that. I harbor no homicidal intentions regarding my dentist. I love my dentist. She’s a terrific dentist and her office runs like clockwork. I was there early, they took me 15 minutes early, my half hour appointment took 20 minutes, nothing they did hurt in the least, and I was out of there and on my way home to my promised reward almost before my scheduled appointment time. Certainly before I had time to decide what that reward was going to be.
No, a mystery was an obvious choice because I don’t have a murder mystery on my list of active reading. (I also do a certain amount of inactive reading, which I’ll explain later.) A dental mystery would be perfect.
I discovered there aren’t a lot of mysteries in which dentistry plays a major role. There’s the movie, “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” where the main character’s pal gamely allows a dentist to pull a perfectly good tooth in order to help the hero spy on the bad guys. But that’s a movie, and the book from which the title was taken, by G K Chesterton, is related to the film in that respect only.
So I looked up dentists -- fiction in the library catalog. And there I found a couple of possible candidates. FALLS THE SHADOW (2005), by William Lashner, is the latest in a series about a Philadelphia defense attorney named Victor Carl, who in this book takes his aching tooth to “a charismatic and enigmatic” dentist named Dr Bob, who changes his life. The book sounds like it has possibilities.
The other pertinent books I found in the Fairfax County Public Library catalog are by Dennis Asen and are DEADLY IMPRESSION (1996) and ROOT OF DECEPTION (1998.) The protagonist is a forensic dentist (guess what Asen’s day job is) who works with a police detective to “drill and grill” in order to solve mysteries. It looks like Asen wrote only the two books.
I had gathered all this information before it dawned on me that if I were going to reward myself any time today it wasn’t going to be with any of these books since they are in a distant branch of the Spokane Library (Lasher) or would have to be ordered from abebooks.com (Asen.) I went ahead and ordered the Asen books (which set me back about $7) and requested the first of the Lashner series from the library. The first book in the series isn’t about a dentist, but I have to read these things in the proper order. I’m a serial reader (which is something like a serial murderer only less violent.) I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve had a chance to look at the books.
This left me with the problem of the immediate reward. So I fell back on Erle and I’m now on page 17 of THE CASE OF THE VELVET CLAWS (1933.)
Here are the books in the William Lashner series, only the last of which deals with a dentist.
HOSTILE WITNESS (1995)
FATAL FLAW (2003)
PAST DUE (2004)
FALLS THE SHADOW (2005)