cover image The Search Committee

The Search Committee

Ralph M. McInerny. Atheneum Books, $0 (243pp) ISBN 978-0-689-12080-0

The Fort Elbow campus of the University of Ohio is in an uproar. Chancellor Herbert Laplace, a champion of MADD, has been picked up for drunk driving after speeding away from a massage parlor. Although state senator Rod Bellini had appointed the school's chancellors in the past, the faculty appoints a search committee to name an appropriate successor to Laplace. After Bellini announces his choice without consulting the committee, the candidate is found in his car--poisoned. Soon afterward, the alternate candidate also is poisoned. It seems the job of chancellor is plagued; who would want the office now? More unsettling for the academics is the question of who killed the candidates. With the skill of an updated P. G. Wodehouse, McInerny makes the internal machinations of those involved in university life mirror the antics of today's crooked politicians. Professor Matthew Rogerson, who enlivened previous mysteries ( Jolly Rogerson ) plays only a peripheral role here, although his ironic, intelligent presence is welcome. Mystery fans looking for a suspenseful plot will be disappointed, but those acquainted with academia will be amused by McInerny's wicked insights into what really goes on beneath the gowns and mortarboards. (Mar.)