Political correctness run amok provides the motive for murder at a Midwestern university.
Accepting a lucrative offer to become a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Freeman State University, Baroness “Jack” Troutbeck arrives in New Paddington, Ind., with her vocal parrot. An intellectually honest conservative, Jack is appalled to find that the school is run with an iron fist by the crooked, mean-spirited triumvirate of President Dickinson, Provost Helen Fortier-Prichardson, and her vicious assistant, Dr. Ethan Gonzales. Jack’s driver Betsy, an earnest, barely literate student, gives her a primer on the trio’s tactics, which range from intimidation to grade inflation to enforced enrollment in ridiculous classes. After hiring a Mike Hammer wannabe to look into the state of affairs, Jack is enraged when the investigator and his partner are killed in a bogus accident, and her outspoken comments start a riot. Luckily, she has a gun, provided by the delightful southerner she met on the plane from London, a traveling companion whose lawyer son is soon defending her from every effort to force her out. Refusing to give up on Freeman, Jack persuades Robert Amiss, her Watson, to abandon his bride during their honeymoon and fly to her aid, and finally mobilizes the students to turn things around and help catch a killer.
Edwards (Murder in a Cathedral, 1997, etc.) pens a scathing, often amusing attack on over-the-top PC.