Discussion Forums - Mystery & Thrillers

Topic: mysteries and academia

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Date Posted: 5/6/2011 11:31 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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My theory is that in English universities, the usual academic backstabbing (heh!) gets much more literal because of this matter of living in close quarters in their Colleges. I wonder whether that's less prevalent there nowadays. Anyplace I've taught, I was usually profoundly grateful not to have to see any more of most of my colleagues after classes were over - and dining with them = Feh! AND how could I forget Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night, the quintessential bad-feelings-from-close-living mystery? I'll go find my copies of the Dorsey Fiske books, so I can answer the question of who'd the main character in the second one.

Last Edited on: 5/6/11 11:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Another brainstorm
Date Posted: 5/6/2011 11:39 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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Margaret Maron's One Coffee With is the first mystery in her first series, about NYC police detective Sigrid Harald. It takes place at a thinly disguised Brooklyn College. I know this because I taught Anthropology for two years at Brooklyn College, and the whole office setup in the book was hideously familiar. So I emailed Margaret Maron via her website, and sure enough, her husband was teaching in the Art department there about the same time I was elsewhere on campus. I don't remember whether there were any other academic settings in the other seven books in the series, but it's a good one - very different from her Judge Deborah Knott series, but equally well-done.
Subject: Brooklyn College and Jack the Ripper
Date Posted: 5/6/2011 11:47 AM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,406
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Margaret H - Thanks for posting that bit. I was born in Brooklyn and will add that mystery to my list.  I read mostly history, but usually always have one mystery book open. Currently, the mystery I'm reading is Time After Time, about H.G. Wells chasing Jack the Ripper to 1979 in his time machine. There was a good movie, by the same name, made from this book that I always liked and I finally picked up a VHS copy at my local library's sale.

Later: There was too much sexual fantasy in this book for my taste. I think the author even went overboard when he had Wells experience a sexual experience just by riding in a taxi. I posted it and someone else picked it up. Still the movie is enjoyable.  The movie and the book follow each other fairly closely. I think the only major difference is who discovers the bloodly evidence in London that confirms who the Ripper is.



Last Edited on: 4/10/13 9:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/6/2011 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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Glyn Daniel, noted Welsh pioneer of British archaeology, wrote two mysteries with an academic setting: Welcome Death and The Cambridge Murders. I can't remember whether they have the same main character or which was published first.
Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 5/8/2011 7:47 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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One of my favorite mysteries is still A Whiff of Death by Isaac Asimov, set in the Chemistry department of a university.  I first read it when I was in school, and recognized some of the chemistry experiments the professor has his students doing, despite the 40+ years between the book and my stint in freshman chem.  I think the book is long out of print, but it's not hard to find copies of an '80s reprint online.

Subject: Asimov mysteries
Date Posted: 5/8/2011 10:50 AM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,406
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Matt C. is right about there being old copies available. A Whiff of Death is priced at $5 on amazon.com and under $1 on half.com This doesn't include shipping.

On amazon there is a dual volume with this title and Murder at the ABA (American Booksellers Association), both by Asimov, starting at just under $6. .

 

Date Posted: 2/19/2016 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,406
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Well, it's been awhile since I or anyone else posted here. However, I recently finished Winspear's A Lesson In Secrets, one of her Maisie Dobbs novels. I have enjoyed all the Maisie Dobbs novels so far. This one finds her working for the British Secret Service, undercover as a professor in a 'peace' college in Cambridge, while also working on two other cases. She investigation has her dealing with the fringes of Mosley's British Nazi party, and she discovers she is not the only spy working at the college. At this time the British Secret Service is not taking the Mosley party as a serious threat. 

Date Posted: 3/16/2016 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,221
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Death of an Old Goat by Robert Barnard. a professor is murdered. I haven't read this but the reviews mention some humor in this.

Date Posted: 6/4/2017 8:41 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,406
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I just finished reading  Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey. This is one of her stand alone novels from 1946.  It's a story of a woman who teaches French, but due to writing a complaint on the back of a sheet of paper, she accidently becomes a celebrated author. This results in her being invited to give a lecture at a girl's medical prep schoo run by an old schoolmatel. It is a 200-page novel, and the 'accident' only occurs more than three-quarters of the way through the book. So this gives Tey plenty of time for character development.

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