MURDER IN THE MUSEUM OF MAN by Alfred Alcorn

MURDER IN THE MUSEUM OF MAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Oh, dear. Dean Cranston Fessing has been interrupted in his audit of the Museum of Man by being murdered in the most indecorous way: His body has been feasted upon in separate, carefully prepared courses (roast rack of dean, medallions of dean, dean bourguignonne). Which of his colleagues would stoop to such practices--if not Cornelius Chard, the ethnologist who's long been an outspoken apologist for cannibalism? In fact, as subsequent deaths will reveal, there's a lot more funny stuff going on at the MOM than anthropophagy. Primate pavilion keeper Damon Drex is encouraging his chimp charges to indulge their talent for verse; a debate rages whether a new Neanderthal exhibit should display mechanical simulacra of our forebears coupling; and of course there's the ongoing friction between the MOM and rapacious Wainscott College. MOM Recording Secretary Norman de Ratour, a superannuated Wainscott student with whom ""there really hadn't been anything new. . . for thirty years,"" records every outrage and peccadillo with equally measured outrage, allowing Alcorn (Vestments, 1988, etc.) to pink such familiar academic targets as lubricity, hypocrisy, gobbledygook, political correctness, and benighted self-absorption (""The murdering and mutilating of sitting deans strikes at the very heart of civilization as we know it""). Alcorn has all these types down pat, but lacks the malicious wit to bring them to life. Despite the body count, de Ratour's narrative isn't much more (or less) deadly than the average interdepartmental memo

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Zoland