Dead as a Dodo

Jane Langton, Author Viking Books $21.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-670-86221-4
Unbridled egos. Ruthless ambition. Uncontrollable lust. Rage. Brutality. Murder. An evening with the NYPD? No, it's just the usual scholars assembling for the beginning of their academic year at England's stately Oxford University. Visiting Harvard professor Homer Kelly (here in his 12th appearance after The Shortest Day) is to lecture on American literature but instead finds himself embroiled in several perplexing mysteries at once: Has someone discovered the long lost zoological specimens from the original Darwin expedition? Who is trying to murder Helen Farfrae, dedicated assistant to distinguished Darwinian scholar Professor Dubchick? Was Helen's abusive husband's fall from museum scaffolding murder or accident? And who slit the throat of young Anglican priest Oliver Clare, scion of a distinguished family and lately besotted with Dubchick's feisty daughter? Eccentric, gregarious and not at all bashful, Homer is aided by his levelheaded and clear-eyed wife, Mary. Much of the droll and unpredictable activity takes place in the venerable city of Oxford and the Oxford University museum. Surrounded by ghosts and statues of past academics, embroiled in creationism vs. evolutionist dogma and dealing with monumental academic skullduggery, Homer, Mary and the Oxford police are at their best. And, at times, over the top. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1996
Release date: 11/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-14-024795-4
Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-78408-668-8
Ebook - 344 pages - 978-1-4532-4765-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-5318-0455-8
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