cover image A Dangerous Thing

A Dangerous Thing

Bill Crider. Walker & Company, $19.95 (189pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-3187-6

The low-key sequel to One Dead Dean finds mild-mannered Carl Burns, English professor at a small denominational Texas college, perplexed by the new dean's campaign for political correctness. Burns's cronies, instructors Fox and Tomlin, ignore the new ban on smoking while discussing the impact of other new policies: a young male student being taken to student court by his girlfriend for ``lookism,'' a term Burns and friends don't understand, and a famously sexist history instructor facing two sexual harassment suits. The history prof falls to his death from his second-story office window, and his widow accuses Fox's and Tomlin's wives of running after her husband. Asked by the police chief to help with the case, Burns investigates the two new people on campus, the dean and a recently hired English instructor, while also keeping his eye out for other possible suspects. Although Crider's leisurely plot is laced with pleasant, dry humor, the novel fails to gather itself into a memorable whole. (July)