DEATH OF A DON by Howard Shaw


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Britisher Shaw moves from prep school (Killing No Murder, 1980) to Beaufort College at Oxford--where David Ashe, brilliant mathematics Fellow, is anathema to his colleagues, is a corrupting influence on students, beats his mistress, and has rude words for everyone. Not a tear is shed, then, when his strangled body turns up in a book crate in a railway shed. Is this murder connected to the death of doddering, retired music prof Duncan-Smith--whose body is found in the college library soon after the theft of a priceless letter? So wonders Inspector Barnaby, who questions the assorted suspects: homosexual prof Cranston; archaeologist/TV personality Cowper; senior librarian Brereton; plus a host of others difficult to tell apart. And the windup--as in Killing No Murder--is rather a disappointment, with concealed salient facts suddenly emerging and a patch of incongruous melodrama. Still, this is sturdy enough for devotees of the English academic scene--and, in addition to the donnish flavor, there's a nicely sardonic look at professional fund-raising along the way.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1981
ISBN: 1860426220
Publisher: Scribners