cover image Death and Deconstruction

Death and Deconstruction

Anne Fleming. St. Martin's Press, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-13046-6

Long on discussion and short on action, Fleming's third British mystery (Sophie Is Gone) reads like the minutes of a dotty faculty conference on the Romantic poets, particularly Byron. Martin Proctor, chairman of the Coleridge and Other Romantic Poets Society (RPS), is concerned when a series of hoaxes plagues the group. With an important RPS conference coming up, he arranges for Detective Chief Superintendent John Charter to go undercover to the next academic gathering in Nottingham. All goes well until after the banquet, when a taped message tells the assemblage that they are locked into the hall with bomb detonators at the doors. This proves to be just another hoax, but the subsequent murder of an American professor proves all too real. Although the crime occurred outside his jurisdiction, Charter joins Detective Chief Superintendent Robert Falkner to investigate. While some readers may enjoy Fleming's portrayal of lit-crit factions, most will likely long for more investigation and less rumination. (Oct.)