Ballantine, Nov 2000, 22.00, 272 pp.
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.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner