Tomas S. reviewed An Imperfect Spy (Kate Fansler, Bk 10) on
This small (5x8) book has only 150 pages, and I could not have handled one page more. It was mostly feminist rant, the kind that appeals to radical feminists and, unfortunately, can therefore be used against them. There was no real plot or story line, and it was completely illogical. BTW, what wasn't feminist propaganda was at the other end of the spectrum, romance. Kate was getting the hots for everything in pants. I can't tell you how disappointed I was with this book. Read at your own risk!!
This author is the master (mistress?) of the twisty plot. Mysterious characters abound, and red herrings swim freely. Good story, but not for rednecks.
From back cover: While guest-teaching a semester at Schuyler Law School, Kate Fansler gets to know an extraordinary secretary named Harriet, who patterns her life after John le Carré's character George Smiley. Harriet reveals that Schuyler has some serious skeletons swinging in its perfectly appointed closets, including the fate of Schuyler's only tenured female professor and a faculty wife who has killed her husband.
As if Kate doesn't have enough to tackle, she is also up against the men who comprise the faculty of Schuyler itself -- a thoroughly unapologetic bastion of white male power, mediocrity, and misogyny. Although she has only a few months on campus, Kate refuses to let Schuyler's rigid ideals and insistence on secrecy suppress her indefatigable curiosity -- or her obsession with the truth.
In her latest jab at academia's underside, New York City literature professor Kate Fansler, last seen in The Players Come Again, team teaches a course in "Women in Law and Literature" at Schuyler Law School while her husband, law professor Reed Amhearst, establishes a student-staffed legal clinic. Among Schuyler's predominantly mediocre and sexist faculty is a lively and mysterious 60-ish secretary named Harriet who models herself on John le Carre's fictional spy, George Smiley. Harriet, like Kate's teaching partner Blair Whitson, voices concern that the recent death of a feminist professor at Schuyler might not have been an accident. Harriet is also interested in the imprisoned Betty Osborne, who murdered her husband for "no reason" (as one Schuyler professor says: "Of course he didn't beat her; he was a member of this faculty."). Just as Kate begins to look into these deaths, she and Blair face a conservative backlash from a surprising quarter, touching off skirmishes sure to shake Schuyler's complacent foundations. While Kate and Reed are as appealing as ever, the real draw of this thinking-reader's mystery is the anger-at the limitations of women's roles in society (imposed and assumed)-that fuels it and its thoroughly disclosed academic setting. Besides posing and solving a neat puzzle, Cross provides a gold mine of stinging quotes for feminist college professors to post on their doors.