IN THE SHADOW OF KING'S by Nora Kelly

IN THE SHADOW OF KING'S

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Murder at Cambridge University--in a dry, talky, lifeless debut that heaps on all the superficial trimmings of the Sayers-style mystery (smart talk, arch wit, wan soulfulness) but never bothers to provide the other aspects of prime Sayers: robust storytelling, fascinating characters, and a topnotch puzzle. Kelly's unengaging heroine is Gillian Adams, 40, a Canadian-American who returns to lecture at Cambridge--as part of her nostalgic sabbatical year away from teaching history in Vancouver. At lunch with legendary, icy Prof. Greenwood, however, Gillian witnesses an ugly scene: the bizarre girlfriend of Greenwood's businessman-brother, apparently drunk, pulls out a gun and takes a pot-shot at the Prof. And the next day, during the applause for Gillian's talk, someone shoots again--this time killing the unpopular professor. Whodunit? Was it that bizarre girl--who soon turns up dead (suicide, perhaps) herself? Probably not, thinks Inspector Edward Gisborne of Scotland Yard, who just happens to be Gillian's lover. But the other suspects are an under-drawn, feebly motivated crew--with no surprises when Edward announces the solution. And, throughout, Kelly seems barely interested in mystery--with far more energy going into Gillian's autobiographical musings (dull), brittle repartee (effortful), and irrelevant discussions of assorted academia-issues. Literate, to be sure--but readers who want something more than surface erudition will want to look elsewhere (to S.T. Haymon, for example) for rich entertainment in the Sayers tradition.

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 1984
ISBN: 1890208221
Publisher: St. Martin's