Think your Thanksgiving with the relatives was tough? Prof. Karen Pelletier spends her holiday weekend getting grilled by Lt. Piotrowski, the Enfield (Mass.) cop she’d rather be getting kissed by, after her imperious, grasping colleague Prof. Elliot Corbin is stabbed to death in his home; and then she finds her office ransacked and the holograph journals of mid-19th-century poet Emmeline Foster, the newest donation to her $10 million Center for the Study of Women Writers (The Northbury Papers, 1998), stolen. How can the journals of an obscure poet whose greatest claim to fame is that she may have drowned herself for love of Edgar Allan Poe be connected to the murder of the evil deconstructionist who wanted to grab Karen’s $10 million to found a Center for Epistemological Studies? Turning over some choice rocks—English department secretary Monica Cassale, embittered adjunct Amber Nichols, visiting poet Jane Birwort (not much moss under that one)—Karen not only throws Poe’s most famous poem into a provocative new light but demonstrates that some kinds of male oppression and misbehavior never go out of style. Accomplished stuff, even if the subtleties of the prose are rather strikingly at odds with the caveman ethics imputed to the male leads.