Death Without Tenure
A Karen Pelletier Mystery by Joanne Dobson
Review: Karen Pelletier is up for tenure at Enfield College but believes another professor, the politically correct choice, will get the only slot … that is, until he's murdered and she's the number one suspect in Death Without Tenure, the sixth mystery in this series by Joanne Dobson.
Karen, a professor in the English department for the past six years, has been working hard for tenure. She's given talks at conferences, had papers published, and she knows she's eminently qualified. But someone else at the college has an edge on her: Joe Lone Wolf is a Native American, and though he hasn't done anything to further his career, he's known to be the preferred choice by the college board. But before an announcement can be made, Joe is murdered.
The investigating officer is no fan of Karen's, having worked with the man in her life, Massachusetts police lieutenant Charles Piotrowski, who is currently serving with the National Guard in Iraq. Believing the police won't put much effort into proving her innocence, Karen teams up with another officer, who's on maternity leave. They discover that, while Joe was popular with his students and other members of the faculty, he harbored a secret life … with plenty of suspects that may have wanted to see him dead.
The author perceptively handles the sensitive subject of discrimination — racial, ethnic, socioeconomic — plus the often awkward consequences of political correctness within the context of the murder mystery plot in Death Without Tenure. In addition to the murdered Native American are a Muslim female student, who is the subject of ridicule by her peers, and the poor son of a coal miner, who may lose his scholarship on the whim of a faculty member. The more entertaining aspects to the story, however, involve conflicts of a less controversial kind: a behind-the-scenes glimpse of college faculty and administrators jockeying for an edge — any edge — over one other for what may seem to the rest of the world to be rather trivial pursuits. At the center of it all, though, is Karen in amateur sleuth mode, who provides the perfect focal point for this academic-themed mystery.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Death Without Tenure.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Death Without Tenure for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Maltese Manuscript
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), February 2003
ISBN-13: 9781590580394; ISBN-10: 1590580397
Face of the Enemy
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), September 2012
ISBN-13: 9781464200311; ISBN-10: 1464200319
Location(s) referenced in Death Without Tenure: New England
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Death Without Tenure by Joanne Dobson — A Karen Pelletier Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: January 2010
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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