Amanda Cross, the internationally acknowledged master of the literary crime novel, introduces fans to a new heroine: Estelle "Woody" Woodhaven. Woody, a private investigator hired to find the perpetrator of a bizarre murder in academe, naturally enlists the help of that indefatigable amateur sleuth, Kate Fansler.
Woody is a fat P.I.she always beats the client to the punch with that revelation. She's also very competent. But her newest case has left her feeling a bit out of her element.
Professor Charles Haycock, an expert on Victorian literature, is dead from a hearty dose of his own heart medication, slipped into his drink during a party at his home. The mystery is not why Haycock was murderedvery few could stomach the woman-hating, power-hungry profbut who did the deed. As Woody proceeds, she finds herself engulfed in a quagmire of infighting and deceit, literary allusions and overinflated egos. And it's time to call in the reinforcements.
Enter Kate Fansler, professor and crimesolver extraordinaire. Together, Woody and Kate start to pull at the loose ends of the very tangled Clifton College English Department. Woody's list of suspects is longer than the freshman survey reading list: Antonia Lansbury, the lone tenured woman on the staffand thereby the target of Haycock's venomous, misogynistic ire; Professor David Longworth, weary of Haycock's controlling ways and now first in line for Department Chair; Rick Fowler, a professor forced out of Clifton because of his liberal views and out-and-proud principles; and Haycock's wife, who was about to file for divorce when her husband gasped his last breath.
As Kateand Woody defuse the host of literary landmines set out for them, Woody suspects they're only scratching the surface of a very large and sinister plot. And it will take both women's expertise and cunning to solve the murder of a man no one was sorry to see go. . . .
Elegant, literate, and darkly humorous, this is one of Amanda Cross's best puzzlers in yearswithout an Honest Doubt.
|Series:||Kate Fansler Series , #13|
|Edition description:||Large Print|
|Product dimensions:||5.82(w) x 8.81(h) x 1.04(d)|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
But a good readable mystery without the grafic violence and sex other writers have had to introduce in their series to keep interest. As a person she does not get more loveable with age but surprise the authors non fiction is the same she comes across the same distant and not someone you d be a friend to or expect her to be. But do we have to like the detective? movie who else but the late katherine hepburn. Mom
I love reading the stories that 'Amanda Cross' writes. They are literate and easy to read. Woody is an interesting private eye and I hope she meets Don again. This story had a few too many characters and that made it hard to really think that one of them was the murderer. I liked the literary allusions and solutions. One quotation surprised me. I thought that Thoreau wrote the one about enterprises that require new clothes, not that TS Eliot used it in a play. Maybe I'm wrong. The Tennyson poetry was well chosen and I do like quotations at the beginning of each chapter. I hope we'll read more about Woody but also Kate. Readers who have only read the mysteries should try Heilbrun's non-fiction. It's excellent.
Professor Charles Haycock, the Chair of New Jersey¿s Clifton College English Department keels over and dies at a party he is hosting at his home for faculty members. Most folks felt Charles¿ death was related to his heart condition, but his son suspects foul play, leaning towards his stepmother. The autopsy shows that Charles died from an overdose of digitalis. His son hires private detective Woody Woodhaven to find out who murdered Charles. Woody starts by concentrating on family members, but soon receives an anonymous letter claiming an employee killed the professor. Since Woody knows nothing about academia politics, jealousies, and bickering, she consults with Professor Kate Fansler, an amateur sleuth noted for solving university homicides. Woody learns that everyone detested the victim, but no one had a strong enough motive to kill him. Ready to give up, she tries one last Hail Mary pass to see what develops. After reading HONEST DOUBT, fans will not need the services of a soothsayer or futurologist to conclude that Amanda Cross is setting up a new series. The main protagonist in this ¿Kate Fansler¿ tale is Woody, who looks ready to star in her own series. Readers will like Woody, who is comfortable with knowing she is a full sized woman. The large cast of secondary characters, especially the faculty, rings genuine including several unlikable professors. There are so many suspects, there is no doubt the audience will finish this book in one sitting to find out who did the crime. Harriet Klausner
I used to defend Amanda Cross from those who thought her work pretentious and full of self referential academic puns. One friend said that in her books a change of tense amounts to a punch line, and now with this latest addition, I have to admit I am prepared to give up on Ms. Cross. The book is a series of interviews between Woody, the detective on the scene, and the professors of an English Dept at a college and there is nothing distinguishing about the personalities, nothing even remotely likable about any of them and consequently, one just reads it to get to the end. And then when the end comes, you discover the mystery is solved thanks to the plot machinations of another book, a classic by Agatha Christie. This book was in a word: tedious. Give me PD James and Philip Margolin (please read him if you haven't already done so. You OWE it to yourself).