Murder Uptown

Donna Hill, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $18.95 (216p) ISBN 978-0-88184-745-1
Roiling academic politics at a fictional branch of the City University of New York set the scene for a reasonably competent, if unexciting debut mystery by the author of Joseph Smith: The First Mormon as well as several children's books. Sharp-eyed, soft-hearted, widowed sociology professor Vinnie Trent questions her colleagues under cover of arranging a memorial for Professor Paul Baskin, who was found in a garbage bag with a fatal head wound. Vinnie hopes to draw suspicion away from her friend Sterling Neu, in whose office she found a bloody paperweight. As Vinnie leans that Paul, a man she thought charming, was a self-serving bully and seducer, her suspects expand to include a luckless colleague up for tenure, an appealing young guard with a criminal record, an outlaw bag lady and a shy student impregnated by the victim. Vinnie's amateur-sleuth status forces her into some unlikely situations and readers will wonder why she never asks Sterling about the paperweight. Although Hill is stingy with clues, she nonetheless provides pleasant diversion. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
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