Another academic mystery for old Winston Marlowe Sherman, a.k.a. mystery writer Henrietta Slocum (Dreamland, 1992, etc.). This one is unusually rich in background: a DeWitt Clinton College production of Othello featuring historian/novelist/magician Piers Ambrose; soulless chancellor James Temple Macauley's determination to raze Sorrowheart- -home to Maxima Davenport Bergner, her Holocaust-survivor stepdaughter Elsa, and Elsa's ineffectual husband Graham; the secret life of genteel groundskeeper Jaffer Swan; and a serial killer dispatching unattached women with an unholy combination of heart medicine and mysterious herbs. Sadly, there's no complementary foreground: the story just wanders from one promising subplot to the next until, having cast suspicion on every member of the extensive cast (and provoked several bogus confessions), it collapses in exhaustion, along with the gentle reader. As relentlessly literate as its models in Dorothy Sayers; as interminable as a faculty meeting on a spring afternoon.