An Academic Murder Mystery – Review

I just finished reading “Quieter Than Sleep” by Joanne Dobson.  The book is called a modern mystery of Emily Dickinson.  Unfortunately, you don’t learn much about Emily Dickinson other than a few off-hand remarks.  However, a central character is Henry Ward Beecher (brother to Harriet Beecher Stowe) and you were able to get a fairly good impression of what type of person he was.  This was very interesting to learn more about, a dimension of historical research with the literary fiction of the mystery.  I would give this book 3.5 stars out of 5 probably.  A good first book, good enough for me to look into the second one which is a good sign.

The book came to my attention from The Bookcase Mystery Book Club.  It was the original selection for July, but due to the age (1997) the publisher stated he would not be able to send enough copies so we chose a different book.  Thankfully for us the books then came in!  It was ladies night last Thursday, so at $6.99 and 20% off it was a pretty good price!  I am glad they came in, it was a good find.

The mystery revolves around the English department in a small, exclusive college in Massachusetts (fictional of course).  The main character is a non-tenured, new professor in English literature (Karen Pelletier) and a find made by a fellow department member who she happens to intensely dislike.  Throw in an interesting cop with a killer smile, which he rarely shows, and a dash of department politics and you have a nice little, cozy mystery.  Nothing big or deep, just a fun read.  Plus, I didn’t figure out who until maybe 3/4’s of the way through, although I had a small group of suspects.  A good weekend read.

Opening line from the book – “I might as well admit it: I was sick of desire.  Of love, sex, and desire, and all their cumbersome baggage.”  Another book starting off with a woman newly on her own!  Seems to be a theme lately, need to find something more light-hearted next time.