The author of No Regrets (1989) crosses Susan Isaacs with David Lodge in a murder mystery romp featuring a clutch of panicked midwestern academics, but 2-D characters and a woefully predictable plot make for a failed experiment in genre-splicing. Fran Meltzer never did like the sexy blond poet Tyler Markem, but since he was her best friend Julia's husband, and all three of them taught at Stimpson College in the Midwest, Fran put up with the arrogant fellow as best she could. Put up with him, that is, until the day Julia discovered that Tyler was committing adultery with bland-faced former student Lynette Macalvie, whom Tyler proclaims is the first of his many lovers who may actually wrest him from his wife. Twice-divorced Fran cheers as Julia ransacks Tyler's office, confronts his lover, and works herself up to ordering her husband out of the house. But the huzzahs stop when Tyler is found dead one morning in the college gym, the weights he was lifting having dropped on his throat. Local police detective Frank Rhodes, middle-aged and widowed, suspects murder; Fran, having slapped on some makeup for her debriefing at the station, offers to help figure out who did it. Surely sweet-natured Julia is no suspect--though Tyler tested her limits with his affair--and weepy Lynette claims she was out of town. But Tyler's alcoholic colleague, poet George Lawson, may have gone crazy with envy as Tyler's career overtook his, and Alice Blevins, potato-faced assistant to the college president, harbors a few secrets of her own. As Fran's altruistic investigation turns into a trite romantic two-step with Detective Rhodes, readers may be forgiven for skipping to the end, confirming the culprit's identity, and moving on to more challenging fare. Less clever, sexy, and surprising than it needs to be.