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Monday, May 26, 2014

Murder is Academic by Lesley Diehl--Review and Guest Post

MURDER IS ACADEMIC large banner640


Murder Is Academic
(Laura Murphy Mystery Series)

File Size: 1626 KB
Print Length: 223 pages
Publisher: Lesley A. Diehl (March 29, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Laura Murphy, psychology professor, thinks there’s nothing she likes better than coffee and donuts on a summer morning until she says yes to dinner with a Canadian biker and finds herself and her date suspects in the murder of her college’s president. Laura’s friend, the detective assigned the case, asks her to help him find out who on the small upstate New York college campus may be a killer.  The murder appears to be wrapped up in some unsavory happenings on the lake where Laura lives.  A fish kill and raw sewage seeping into the water along with the apparent drowning suicide of a faculty member complicate the hunt for the killer.  And then things become personal.  The killer makes a threatening phone call to Laura. With a tornado bearing down on the area and the killer intent upon silencing her, Laura’s sleuthing work may come too late to save her and her biker from a watery grave.

My Review:

This was an okay book, it wasn’t the best I have read in a while. It didn’t get exciting till the end. I sometimes didn’t like the character of Laura as I thought she didn’t think things through very well sometimes. I was also a little confused about who was who in this story. I really don’t like giving bad reviews, and there were some good parts of the book. I liked how Laura was determined to find out who the killer was. The ending gets pretty exciting and nail biting, Lesley did very well with that.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About The Author
Like me, my protagonists choose to live their lives close to nature.
From the deep, green river valleys and tree-covered mountains of upstate New York to the palm-treed pastures of the Big Lake Country in Florida, these women have found their homes and their hearts in rural America.
These plucky snoops are joined by a transplant from Connecticut, Eve Appel, who moves to rural Florida to set up a consignment shop with her best friend and partner, Madeleine Boudreau.
All these amateur sleuths yearn for the simple, artless existence of hard work coupled with rustic pleasure.
That’s why they live away from big cities, but murder and violence have a way of stalking us, even our plucky heroines, who think they’ve avoided life’s perils.
Lesley A. Diehl author of cozy mysteries featuring sassy, country gals who enjoy snooping

Guest Post

Murder is Academic: Laura and her Pals

In most of my cozy mysteries, I pair my protagonist with a gal pal. I do this because I prefer writing in first person point of view (POV) where everything the reader experiences is through the eyes of the protagonist. I try to create a character the reader will like and root for, feel close to and find flawed enough to see as a real person. The value of a gal pal is to develop another likeable character who can provide the reader with another point of view on the protagonist’s behavior, feelings and attitudes. Sometimes a gal pal sees the world in exactly the same way the protagonist does. In other cases, she gives the reader a very different take on what is happening from that the protagonist provides.

Laura Murphy has her friend and colleague, Annie, a talented artist trying for the promotion Laura has already won. While individuals familiar with the system of tenure and promotion within academe may already understand the rules of advancement within the system, many readers don’t have such a frame of reference. Since the murder in the book is very much about the political issues within higher education, having Annie suffer some of the anxiety about an upcoming promotion and sabbatical provides the reader more intimate insight into what is happening then simply having Laura comment on it. I want the reader to be able to feel the anxiety Annie experiences and understand how conflict-ridden relationships within a college and university can be. Could this system support murder? It sure could.

It’s Laura’s understanding of how the university works that encourages the detective assigned to the case, Derrick Pasquis, to ask Laura for help in solving the murder. Derrick or Der as Laura calls him becomes yet another "pal" to provide the reader with yet an additional take on what is happening around Laura. He sees the world from the viewpoint of an outsider. Not only does he represent the authority of the police, an outside agency viewed with suspicion by the campus, but I’ve also heightened his outsider status by making him a Caribbean man of mixed race. Now the reader sees yet another view of the campus and of the suspects, through the eyes of a man, a police officer and an outsider. Of course, because this is first person point of view, all of this we learn through Laura so it is not truly veridical information, but a pal’s comments and behavior come from the person him or herself.

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