THIRD DEGREE by Maggie Barbieri


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A professor stumbles on yet another dead body while wondering whether to get married.

August certainly is the cruelest month for Alison Bergeron (Final Exam, 2009, etc.). Haunted by memories of her mother’s death, she drags herself back to her office at St. Thomas University to interview prospective English majors whose grasp of the language is even more tenuous than her own. (In addition to using the now-ubiquitous “comprised of” and substituting “prone” for “supine,” she notes that her best friend “found my screaming to be a serious affront to her delicate olfactory function.”) Her closest colleague, Father Kevin McManus, is missing in action. And when she goes to get a cup of dreadful coffee from Beans, Beans—Dobbs Ferry’s answer to Starbucks—she steps into a fistfight between blogger Carter Wilmott and George Miller, head of the village’s Department of Public Works. One punch from the burly trash man wipes Wilmott off the Web for good, and the cause of death seems so obvious that the police don’t even bother investigating the bomb that incinerates Wilmott’s car minutes after his demise. Ginny, Miller’s wife, begs Alison to lie about the fatal blow, but Alison, a veteran corpse-magnet, decides to investigate instead, seeking any distraction that can prevent her from giving her gorgeous, attentive boyfriend, the NYPD’s Bobby Crawford, a straight answer to his marriage proposal.

The only mystery in Barbieri’s fifth is why Alison keeps drinking coffee she hates but can’t commit to the man she loves.

Pub Date: Dec. 7th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-59328-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2010


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