cover image Department of Death: A Nick Hoffman Mystery

Department of Death: A Nick Hoffman Mystery

Lev Raphael. Perseverance, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-56474-619-1

Raphael makes the most of the academic setting of his immensely enjoyable 10th mystery featuring Nick Hoffman, a literature professor at the State University of Michigan (after 2019’s State University of Murder). After reluctantly accepting an administrative position as the interim chair of the English and Creative Writing Department, Nick must deal with petty faculty rivalries and with an associate chair who proposes that students read digital texts instead of printed texts (“Digital reading puts readers in control and defies the patriarchy”). Late one night, Nick gets a call from associate dean Boris Hernandez, who wants Nick to meet him at his office right away to discuss an urgent matter. When Nick and his partner, Stefan Borowski, SUM’s writer-in-residence, get to Boris’s office, they find him slumped over his desk with a bloody head wound. This latest murder validates Nick’s fiefdom’s nickname of the Department of Death, and Nick and Stefan once again hit the sleuthing trail. Raphael’s witty prose enhances a crafty plot. Fans of Robert Barnard and Jane Langton will be pleased. (Apr.)