Poisoned Pen Press, Feb 2003, 24.95, 266 pp.
She was brought up in a rough and tough neighborhood, got the valedictorian award taken away from her because she became pregnant but didn't let her past influence her future. Karen Pelletier went on to become an assistant English professor at ritzy Enfield College in Massachusetts. In the spring, she is going to give a talk at the mystery conference sponsored by the women studies group.
She is asked and reluctantly accepts hosting the guest of honor, best-selling author Sunnye Hardcastle and her Doberman Trouble. It is difficult for her to write the paper as the reference books were stolen from the library, as were many other valuable works. When the body of Bob Tooey is found in the stack Sunnye comes under suspicion because she was the last person who was seen talking to him but Karen, who by now thinks of the author as a friend, is convinced she is innocent. Karen and Sunnye sneak into the stacks one night after the library closes looking for clues and almost gets themselves killed.
Whoever thinks academics are peaceful gentle souls have not read one of Joanne Dobson's exciting academic mysteries. The protagonists is a very independent woman who will not be dissuaded once she decides on a course of action. THE MALTESE FALCON is the best work in this series because there are many smaller who-done-its that have to be solved so that the bigger mystery can be cracked open.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner