Marvell College Murders

Sophie Belfort, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (215p) ISBN 978-1-55611-255-3
History professor Molly Rafferty of Scattergood College and Boston homicide detective Nick Hannibal, first encountered in Belfort's The Lace Curtain Murders , are living together blissfully in this new mystery spoofing ivory tower types. The story centers on Marvell (read Harvard) College's Center for Participatory Politics, a scholarly snakepit. The vipers include academic gun-for-hire Bert Harding, a TV talking head, op-ed writer and adviser to emirs and other right-wingers; pedantic anti-feminist and anti-Semite Norman Clawsen who considers students a nuisance and spouts such jargon as ``dialogue enhancement'' and ``operationalizing the insight''; and simpering Alvin Worth, Clawsen's yes-man. Clawsen heads the search for an assistant professor of political behavior but opposes the best-qualified candidate, indefatigable researcher Richard Llewellyn. The latter is stabbed to death at the Boston Public Library with a gem-encrusted dagger stolen from Harding, who had it from an emir. Then another victim is shot dead after bedding a middle-aged virgin. Focusing on a motive that might cause an academic to kill, Nick brings the case to a smashing end in a subway station. The novel is amusing if sometimes labored, with satire straying into burlesque, and with too little of Nick and Molly's romantic banter. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Hardcover - 978-0-517-09237-8
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