History prof Gillian Adams returns from her sabbatical at Cambridge (In the Shadow of King's, 1985) to find her Canadian hometown University of the Pacific North-West in an uproar over the militant demands of feminist students. The issues involved in the developing mystery--why did brilliant, outspoken feminist agitator Rita Gordon take a fatal spill from her motorcycle only days after she was unfairly denied a fat fellowship?--recalls Dorothy Sayers and Amanda Cross. But Kelly's less interested in tracking down the culprit than in using the issues of affirmative action and women's studies to divide her vast, forgettable cast into heroes (Gillian, most of her cozy friends, and UPNW benefactress Jessie Reyne) and villains (Rita's abusive brother, Gillian's obtuse colleagues, and the beastly engineering students behind the wave of anti-feminist terrorism). Immensely civilized and overladen with academic politics. Like the Titanic, the whole project founders in dignity and serene self- approval.