Quoth the Raven, by Jane Haddam

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Now she looked down at the piles of pink message slips spread out across her desk and sighed. Back then, it had never occurred to her to do the obvious and apply for admission. Half a dozen students in her own high-school graduating class had been taken on as commuters, all tuition paid by the Crockett Memorial Valley Scholarship Fund. Maybe it was the fact that those students had all been from the other side of town, where houses were neat and conscientiously painted and fathers were present and meticulously sober, that had made her believe, unconsciously, that she was not qualified to be among them. Maybe it was just that, in that time and in that place, “secretary” was the job most women were taught to aspire to. Either that, or “teacher.” Miss Maryanne Veer had never suffered from the delusion that she had the talent to be a teacher.

I’ve tried two other books in this series of murder mysteries featuring retired Armenian-American FBI agent Gregor Demarkian, and neither quite gelled for me, but I must say this worked very well – a campus mystery, where the traditionally low stakes of academic politics have escalated to murder. The mystery is carefully laid out and worked through. I did raise an eyebrow at the sexual politics of the student lifestyle, which seemed to me closer to the 1950s than the 1990s when the book is set, but perhaps I don’t know enough about Pennsylvania. Anyway, the best Haddam I’ve read so far; try it if you like.

This was the non genre fiction book which had lingered longest on my shelves. Next on that list is Baptism in Blood, by the same author, but I’m going to hold off on reviewing it until I have finished all the books I acquired in 2010.

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