Karen’s sixth case (Cold and Pure and Very Dead, 2000, etc.) has everything you’d expect from an academic mystery—civilized...


Going up for tenure turns out to be only the second biggest strain on professor Karen Pelletier’s life.

Each department at Enfield College is restricted to a single tenure appointment this year, and the English faculty must choose between promoting a colleague who’s published two books and a slew of scholarly articles and a Native American who never even finished his dissertation but argues that he should be judged on his “speakings” rather than his writings. Karen seethes as Ned Hilton, the English department’s new chair, indicates his preference for Joseph Lone Wolf. Soon enough, however, Karen’s problems are alleviated. Joe is no longer her unstoppable rival for the promotion but a corpse, and she’s no longer the underdog but a leading suspect in his murder. Threatened with arrest by Lt. Neil Boylan, who has it in for her sweetie, Lt. Charlie Piotrowski (off in Iraq with National Guard), Karen wonders forlornly, “Would I ever get tenure after that?” The mystery is a trifle—Karen comes across the essential clue quite by accident at the 11th hour—but the skewering of identity politics and political correctness is real enough, even if the ending is just a little pat.

Karen’s sixth case (Cold and Pure and Very Dead, 2000, etc.) has everything you’d expect from an academic mystery—civilized dialogue, literary allusions, venal administrators, miasmal paranoia—and not a smidgen more.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59058-585-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



One of her best. Poirot, again on vacation, falls foul of a murder on board a Nile river steamer, followed by two successive murders, obviously connected. A sophisticated group, an ingenious plot, clever deduction, swift-paced narrative. A little romance on the side lends glamour. First rate entertainment.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 1938

ISBN: 0062073559

Page Count: 354

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1938

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 17

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller


A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

Did you like this book?