by Cynthia Chow
In this our Earth Day issue we are featuring e-books and books that somehow tie in to Earth Day. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an e-book copy of Murder is Academic which has an environmental aspect to the plot, along with a link to purchase it from Amazon.
If psychology professor Dr. Laura Murphy hadn’t allowed herself to be goaded into practicing for Onondaga Fall’s canoe regatta, she never would have discovered the body of her Upstate College’s president. Even though Laura had recently had a less-than-harmonious discussion with President Thomas Talbot regarding her office research space, there’s no dearth of suspects within the New York academic institution. It seems that there was fiscal mismanagement within his cabinet of officers, he was changing the authority over the college’s Biological Field Station, and Talbot was engaged in a dispute with his neighbor over a shared driveway. The college’s study of the effects of a proposed boat launch further muddies the water, as do the alarming number of dead fish surfacing near a new condominium development. That Talbot’s wife had previously been the agent selling units there only further questions the assertion that his death was a suicide.
Fortunately for Laura’s unstoppable nosiness, she is half-seriously assigned the role of academic private eye by Lieutenant Detective Derek Pasquis, her good friend within the Onondaga Police Department. Together with her friend and fellow professor Annie, as well as a Harley-riding road construction worker who happens to also be a high school biology teacher, Laura shamelessly meddles in her college’s numerous indiscretions and below-the-belt activities.
Faculty politics meet ecological shenanigans in this hilariously entertaining first mystery featuring the sharp wit of Laura Murphy. I absolutely adore academic mysteries, and Diehl makes the most of the intellectual setting where overblown egos, department infighting, and marital affairs run rampant. Academics who marry their students, department heads who date their secretaries, and Laura’s very hot acrobatics with Guy La France are some of the low-brow activities conducted by these pretentious intellectuals. As intriguing as the nefarious ecological crimes is Laura’s relationship with her somewhat estranged son, who is bringing his fiancé to Onondaga Falls for the first time. While Laura may possess more book-smart intelligence than street sense, she never acts too foolishly or in a way that lacks common sense. This is a delightfully fun novel that pokes fun at the academia while also highlighting crimes against nature. Despite the many laughs, the seriousness of these very topical issues remain and combine into one extremely enjoyable mystery.
To enter to win an e-book copy of Murder is Academic, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “academic,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 23, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
You can use this link to purchase this book: If you have ad blocker on this link may not show up.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.