Amanda Cross – Death in a Tenured Position (1981)


Silver Age
Category: Outside Your Comfort Zone
Date Finished: August 12, 2015

This was supposed to be my academic mystery, but I cannot stand to read anything else so terrible that I’m going to have to make it my Outside My Comfort Zone choice.

What an awful, awful book. Wordy, poorly plotted, with forgettable characters, it is hard to believe that this was written by a Columbia English professor. Almost every sentence is filled with asides, that are supposedly meant as humorous but completely fail. The “detective”, Kate Fansler, comes to Harvard as a visiting scholar to assist the first female professor in the English department, who has been found dead drunk in a bathtub with another woman. Kate has little interaction with this woman, who is eventually found dead in a men’s room. With no police involvement and no suspects, Kate meanders around, doing nothing, before declaring it was a suicide. Case closed. Meant more as a critique of Harvard’s policies toward women, it doesn’t even do that well. Such a shock compared to Donald Westlake’s great style and ability.

Vintage Silver Bingo 2015-08-12


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