DEATH WITHOUT TENURE: A PROFESSOR KAREN PELLETIER MYSTERY
By Joanne Dobson
Poisoned Pen Press
Hardover, ISBN: 978-1-59058-585-6, 240 pages, $24.95
Trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1-59058-709-6, 240 pages, $14.95
Large Type Trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1-59058-586-3, 340 pages, $22.95
After spending six years teaching at Enfield College, Professor Karen Pelletier is finally seeing an opportunity for security, she is eligible for tenure. After publishing many articles, she feels that this should be a logical next step and that there should be no objections. She feels betrayed when she learns that she is not favored for receiving tenure, but that another professor who has published nothing will be the choice. He has one advantage that she does not have. Professor Joe Lone Wolf is from a minority.
What’s the logical thing to do now? She immerses herself in her classes and prepares her box for the tenure application process anyway. With her daughter traveling in Nepal and her fiancé in Iraq, Karen is grateful for her friendship with Earlene, the dean of students at Enfield to take away some of the loneliness.
Unfortunately, Joe Lone Wolf is found dead. So who would gain the most by his death? Karen quickly discovers that she has the most logical motive for wanting someone dead. Her logical choice then is to investigate his death before she is arrested for it.
The character of Professor Karen Pelletier was exceptional especially with her personal relationship with two students. One was a Muslim woman and the other was a coal-miner’s son whose college and future depended strictly on his scholarship.
By my count, this is the sixth mystery to feature Karen Pelletier, an English professor at Enfield College. Other books in this series are QUIETER THAN SLEEP, THE NORTHBURY PAPERS, THE RAVEN AND THE NIGHTINGALE, COLD AND PURE AND VERY DEAD, and the Agatha finalist, THE MALTESE MANUSCRIPT. Being that this is a part of a series, I was surprised at how well this novel worked as a alone without knowledge of the previous books. The characterizations are well-written and not repetitive or skimpy.
The pacing is quick. The book is engaging and enjoyable to read. The only unclear stem was the computer that was taken by the police. Another computer, a laptop, magically appeared but apparently did not have the job related information that was needed. If something was important to keep, wouldn’t most of us have the information backed up on a flash drive?
Joanne Dobson lives in Brewster, New York and teaches English at Fordham University.