MURDER IN THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT by Valerie Miner

MURDER IN THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

As Dorothy L. Sayers and Amanda Cross have proven, feminism and murder-in-academia can be a potent blend; but Miner (Blood Sisters) offers only a didactic, whiny stew--short on mystery and heavy on ""sisterly"" sentimentality. Her heroine is Berkeley's Nan Weaver, an assistant prof at 48, a divorcee who has broken painfully free (as we learn in repetitious musings) of her blue-collar family background. Her current preoccupations: young niece Lisa, who is trying to follow Aunt Nan's liberated footsteps despite her parents' low-brow opposition; and a campaign against sexual harassment on campus--which Nan leads, though it might endanger her tenure prospects. Then, however, lecherous old Prof. Angus Murchie is murdered in his office. And Nan, working next-door, overhears enough to be sure that the killer is beautiful, aloof grad-student Marjorie, fending off a rape attack. So Nan destroys evidence, lies to the cops, and refuses to implicate Marjorie--even when she herself is arrested for the murder. But thanks to the nobility of the women involved, Nan will triumph. . . and drive off into the sunset in her car Isadora, ""the other woman who had not failed her in all of this."" The women are all warm, the men are all pigs (except for Nan's homosexual chum, of course), the suspense is nil--and, despite some crisp narration, only full-time feminists will find this remotely plausible or steadily entertaining.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's