cover image Death Without Tenure

Death Without Tenure

Joanne Dobson, . . Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (230pp) ISBN 978-1-59058-709-6

Agatha-finalist Dobson's sixth mystery to feature English professor Karen Pelletier (after 2003's The Maltese Manuscript ) earns a passing grade. Karen is up for the sole open tenure spot in her department at Massachusetts's Enfield College, but the department chairman is championing her underqualified Native American colleague, Joe Lone Wolf, which sends Karen into a dither. She also worries about her boyfriend's deployment to Iraq and her daughter's jaunt to Nepal. After someone slips Joe a fatal overdose of what may be peyote, she becomes the prime murder suspect. Plenty of other suspects emerge from the stereotypical cast of faculty and students, as Dobson trots out a plague of academic bugaboos, including drugs, false credentials, plagiarism, faculty in-fighting and hate crimes. When Karen stops dithering and starts playing detective, things heat up quickly. (Jan.)