When the Bough Breaks (novel)

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When the Bough Breaks
When the Bough Breaks (Kellerman novel) 1st edition cover.jpg
First edition
Author Jonathan Kellerman
Country United States
Language English
Series Alex Delaware novels
Genre Mystery
Publisher Random House
Publication date
1985 (1st edition)
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 432 pp
ISBN 0-345-46660-8
OCLC 53397597
Followed by Blood Test

When the Bough Breaks is a mystery novel by Jonathan Kellerman. It is the first novel in the Alex Delaware series.

Plot introduction[edit]

Dr. Morton Hander practiced a strange brand of psychiatry. Among his specialties were fraud, extortion and sexual manipulation. Hander paid for his sins when he was brutally murdered in his luxurious Pacific Palisades apartment. The police have no leads, but they do have one possible witness: seven-year-old Melody Quinn.

It's psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware's job to try to unlock the terrible secret buried in Melody's memory. But as the sinister shadows in the girl's mind begin to take shape, Alex discovers that the mystery touches a shocking incident in his own past. And behind it lies an unspeakable evil that Alex Delaware must expose before it claims another innocent victim.


  • Alex Delaware - Psychologist
  • Milo Sturgis - Police detective
  • Dr. Morton Hander - Psychiatrist and murder victim
  • Melody Quinn - Delaware's patient and murder witness



The novel was adapted for a 1986 television film, also titled When the Bough Breaks, co-produced by and starring Ted Danson as Alex Delaware and Richard Masur as Milo Sturgis.


  1. ^ "Bouchercon World Mystery Convention : Anthony Awards and History". Bouchercon.info. Retrieved March 5, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Edgar Awards: A Literary Mystery Award". Awards.omnimystery.com. Retrieved March 5, 2012.