Joanne Dobson is the author of three previous Karen Pelletier mysteries -- The Raven and the Nightingale, The Northbury Papers, and Quieter Than Sleep, which was nominated for an Agatha Award. An associate professor of English at Fordham University, she lives in Westchester County, New York.
In this fourth Professor Pelletier mystery (The Northbury Papers), Dobson, an English professor herself, continues her barbed send-up of academe, skewering "colleagues" along the way (from the Palaver Chair of Literary Studies to the neo-Shakespearean) and doing her best to massacre literary jargon. Here, Pelletier sets the culture mavens wagging when she names Oblivion Falls, a Peyton Place-readalike, as one of the best novels of the 20th century. Her flip comment brings harsh notoriety to the novel's author, Mildred Deakin, a goat farmer who has been living under an assumed name for the last 40 years and who is charged with the murder of the reporter who discovers her whereabouts. Pelletier doesn't buy the murder theory, however, and brings to bear her considerable literary investigative skills to clear the novelist. Her research reveals that there's some truth to the semi-autobiographical Oblivion Falls and stirs the enmity of the real murderer. Those who love mystery amid academe will love this too, but readers don't need to be fans of the subgenre to appreciate Dobson's red herrings and careful character building.ÄFrancine Fialkoff, "Library Journal" Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Despite a promising premise, this latest Karen Pelletier mystery is more academic than smart. Pelletier, associate professor of English at prestigious Enfield College, causes a sensation by telling reporter Marty Katz that the best novel of the 20th century is Mildred Deakin's Oblivion Falls, a controversial and once-popular '50s potboiler of youthful sex and death. After Pelletier's quote appears in the New York Times, Oblivion Falls becomes an Oprah book and shoots to the top of the Times bestseller list. Deakin disappeared soon after the novel's publication; Katz spies a story and begins digging into the past. His untimely death on Deakin's doorstep in upstate New York thrusts the author (now a goat farmer) back into the limelight as the prime suspect in Katz's murder. Pelletier, who feels guilty for starting the chain of events that led to the murder, investigates. The three previous Pelletier novels (Agatha-nominated Quieter Than Sleep, etc.) have an easy, conversational tone and a sassy, engaging heroine. Unfortunately, the series seems to have run out of steam. The secondary characters have become easily recognizable stereotypes; the soft-boiled plot is formulaic and bland. The predictable confrontation between Pelletier and the two-dimensional murderer at the climax falls exceptionally flat. Agent, Deborah Schneider. (Dec. 26) Forecast: More outings like this one could threaten Karen Pelletier's shot at tenure in the mystery world. While fans of Dobson's previous novels will buy this one, most of them will be disappointed. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"Fans of Amanda Cross's delicious academic mysteries really must meet Professor Karen Pelletier!" -- Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine "Amanda Cross, move over. There's a new literary mystery novelist in town." -- Great Neck Record "Dobson's sparkling tale lures readers through enough bait-and-switch red herrings to guarantee a riveting curiosity about who's who." -- Kirkus Reviews "For a modern mystery of academic proportions, you can't beat Joanne Dobson's series!" -- Mystery Lovers Bookshop News Don't miss these other books in Joanne Dobson's acclaimed series featuring Professor Karen Pelletier: The Raven and the Nightingale "Richly textured ... witty and withering." -- Mystery Lovers Bookshop News Quieter Than Sleep Nominated for the Agatha Award "A truly stunning academic mystery." -- Mystery Lovers Bookshop News The Northbury Papers "One of the year's best mysteries." -- Salon magazine Fans of Amanda Cross s delicious academic mysteries really must meet Professor Karen Pelletier! "Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine" Amanda Cross, move over. There s a new literary mystery novelist in town. "Great Neck Record" Dobson s sparkling tale lures readers through enough bait-and-switch red herrings to guarantee a riveting curiosity about who s who. "Kirkus Reviews" For a modern mystery of academic proportions, you can t beat Joanne Dobson s series! "Mystery Lovers Bookshop News " Don t miss these other books in Joanne Dobson s acclaimed series featuring Professor Karen Pelletier: The Raven and the Nightingale Richly textured ... witty and withering. "Mystery Lovers Bookshop News" Quieter Than Sleep Nominated for the Agatha Award A truly stunning academic mystery. "Mystery Lovers Bookshop News" The Northbury Papers One of the year s best mysteries. "Salon "magazine" A rediscovered bestselling novel ignites an academic uproar, a media circus, and a cold-blooded murder-adding up to a perfect case for Karen Pelletier, Joanne Dobson's "attractive heroine with the courage and wit to take on the toughest adversaries" --"The Dallas Morning News