Title: Honest Doubt
Author: Cross, Amanda
Publisher: Ballantine Books, New York
Publication Date: 2000
Edition: First Edition
Book Condition: NF
D-j Condition: NF
Comments: Spine slightly cocked. Small rub on back of d-j.
Synopsis: Amanda Cross, the internationally acknowledged master of the literary crime novel, introduces fans to a new heroine: Estelle “Woody” Woodhaven. Woody, a private investigator hired to find the perpetrator of a bizarre murder in academe, naturally enlists the help of that indefatigable amateur sleuth, Kate Fansler.
Woody is a fat P.I.–she always beats the client to the punch with that revelation. She’s also very competent. But her newest case has left her feeling a bit out of her element.
Professor Charles Haycock, an expert on Victorian literature, is dead from a hearty dose of his own heart medication, slipped into his drink during a party at his home. The mystery is not why Haycock was murdered–very few could stomach the woman-hating, power-hungry prof–but who did the deed. As Woody proceeds, she finds herself engulfed in a quagmire of infighting and deceit, literary allusions and overinflated egos. And it’s time to call in the reinforcements.
Enter Kate Fansler, professor and crimesolver extraordinaire. Together, Woody and Kate start to pull at the loose ends of the very tangled Clifton College English Department. Woody’s list of suspects is longer than the freshman survey reading list: Antonia Lansbury, the lone tenured woman on the staff–and thereby the target of Haycock’s venomous, misogynistic ire; Professor David Longworth, weary of Haycock’s controlling ways and now first in line for Department Chair; Rick Fowler, a professor forced out of Clifton because of his liberal views and out-and-proud principles; and Haycock’s wife, who was about to file for divorce when her husband gasped his last breath.
As Kate and Woody defuse the host of literary landmines set out for them, Woody suspects they’re only scratching the surface of a very large and sinister plot. And it will take both women’s expertise and cunning to solve the murder of a man no one was sorry to see go. . . .
Elegant, literate, and darkly humorous, this is one of Amanda Cross’s best puzzlers in years–without an Honest Doubt.