Everyone knows that college teachers are idiots, so it’s no surprise that when Dr. Sally Good, chair of the English Department at Hughes Community College (Murder Is an Art, 1999), hears from department gadfly Troy Beauchamp that fellow professor Jack Neville is being questioned in the murder of Hughes trustee Ralph Bostic, her first impulse is to eat a Hershey bar. That’s not so different from Neville’s own response: On his release from custody he goes home, plays FreeCell, listens to the Kingston Trio, and wonders whether this means that Sally, who recently agreed to a date, will now cancel. Eventually Sally finishes grading her multiple-choice exams and decides to question the dean’s secretary, Wynona Reed, who tells her that Bostic had been seeing Mae Wilkins, another English prof, who’d been two-timing him with Jorge Rodriguez, the ex-inmate who helped run the college’s prison program. Now Sally’s really miffed. Neat-freak Mae had two guys, including the one Sally deep-down really wants, while all she’s got is namby-pamby Jack, who’s a murder suspect to boot. Still, he’s an old friend, so eventually Sally rouses herself from her snit and goes over to Jack’s house to work out a plan of attack—which amounts to confronting each suspect personally until one of them gets spooked enough to strike back.
It’s a wonder Sally’s second isn’t destined for the YA market, since veteran Crider (A Romantic Way to Die, 2001, etc. provides more he said/she said and less actual coupling than a typical middle-school cafeteria.