Murder at the Margin


“Spearman suddenly got up from the bed and began to pace.  He was usually a jovial man but his mind was troubled.  Since arriving at Cinnamon Bay with his wife, on what was to be a happy holiday, there had been two murders and a drowning.  Could all these unlikely incidents be unrelated?”


Cinnamon Bay Plantation on lush, tropical St. John is the ideal Caribbean island getaway: or so it seems. But for distinguished Harvard economist Henry Spearman, long overdue for R & R, it offers diversion of a decidedly different sort and one he’s hardly anticipated: murder.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Prickly and priggish, Gen. Hudson T. Decker (Ret.) may be a Cinnamon Bay regular, but he’s managed to alienate fellow guests and a lot of townspeople over the years. Suddenly, before the local inspector had assembled a suspect list, there is a mysterious drowning and a second murder, this time a former U.S. Supreme Court justice. Prime suspects abound: a liberal professor of divinity, a vengeful wife, an alleged girlfriend, and a handful of angry local activists.

While the island police force is mired in an investigation that leads everywhere and nowhere, the diminutive, balding Spearman, who likes nothing better than to train his curiosity on human behavior, conducts an investigation of his own, one governed by rather different laws–those of economics. Theorizing, hypothesizing, Spearman sets himself on the trail of the killer as it twists from the postcard-perfect beaches and manicured lawns of a premier resort to the bustling old port of Charlotte Amalie to the densely forested hiking paths with their perilous drops to a barren, deserted cay offshore.

Now available in a new critical edition, Marshall Jevon’s Murder at the Margin was first published in 1978, when it marked the debut of Henry Spearman.


Praise for Murder at the Margin


“If there is a more painless way to learn economic principles, scientists must have recently discovered how to implant them in ice cream.” –The Wall Street Journal


“At last a new kind of mastermind – a national ‘homoeconomicus’ and libertarian.  If Henry Spearman had not existed, God would have had to invent him.  Marshall Jevons did, to his readers’ benefit.” – Paul A. Samuelson