Saturday, April 13, 2013

Murder in the Philosophy Department / Julia March

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Mystery/Woman Sleuth

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


“Julia taught philosophy for a period of time. Now she reads novels, writes novels, and has fun with her dogs.”


“Who killed Niles Norman, the new head of the philosophy department?
When Norman is found murdered in his office, Liza Ryder, a professor of philosophy, offers the police her help. She's worried they won't take academic motives seriously. And she also investigates her colleagues herself.”


When the new head of the philosophy department of a third-rate college is murdered and Professor Liza Ryder looks closely at her colleagues, she realizes that all have skeletons in their closets. Otherwise, why would they have stooped so low as to teach at such a dump? What would they do if someone was threatening their precarious hold on the academic life?

The setting is what separates this book from most murder mysteries. In case you didn’t know, academics aren’t like you or I. March gets plenty of mileage out of the idiosyncrasies of academics, with campus politics, strange priorities, and the different worldview found in such an environment. It also makes the use of a few vocabulary building words seem natural, rather than like the author was showing off. Sprinkled throughout the book was what I thought of as intellectual humor, such as this:

"Please think about it. Everybody knows you're the acting department head, for all intents and purposes." My students said for all intensive purposes when they tried to use that figure of speech. It always made me wonder about extensive purposes.

Walking that line between assuming a level of intelligence of the reader, rather than seeming to be showing off or dumbing down, is a tough balance, which March found. Murder in the Philosophy Department should be a hit with mystery lovers out there.


A small amount of adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars


Vicki said...

Sounds like another one for my reading list. :)

BooksAndPals said...

It is, Vicki. I think your reading list may be longer than mine by now. :)

Vicki said...

Yep... I'm adding more than I'm reading. I'm addicted. I need to devote a few months to just reading. Oh, wouldn't that be bliss? :)

BooksAndPals said...

How true, Vicki. You aren't alone in your addiction either. I could name a lot of people with the same problem (if it really is a problem).

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