Doubleday, Dec 2000, 22.95, 288 pp.
In Western Massachusetts, Enfield College English professor Karen Pelletier knows that New York Times art reporter Martin Katz is bored with her. Katz, wanting to end the interview, provides a final throwaway question, what is the greatest twentieth century English novel. A facetious Karen replies the 1957 best-selling "Oblivion Falls" by Mildred Deakin. Not only is that novel mentioned in the paper, but soon Oprah discovers it too. "Oblivion Falls" becomes a best seller again.
Not long afterward, Karen receives a visit from two New York State Police Officers. Apparently, someone killed Katz in the driveway of an elderly recluse, Millie Finch, in Nelson Corners. Millie once wrote under the nom de plume of Mildred Deakin. After finishing their grilling of Karen, the two cops leave and her old "sleuthing" buddy Massachusetts Statie Piotrowski arrives to make sure the professor butts out of the investigation. However, with the encouragement of her daughter, Karen joins the case as an unwanted voluntary literary investigator only to learn that the lurid subplots of "Bolivian Falls" really happened.
The fourth Professor Pelletier mystery is an amusing, well-written amateur sleuth tale. The story line is fun as the courageous Karen investigates another homicide, but this time away from the college. Karen is a fabulous lead character and the remaining cast divides into three groups: academia, law enforcement, and literary. Each group augments the plot while providing insight into Karen's personality. Sub-genre fans will want to read Joanne Dobson's newest novel because it is simply very entertaining.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner