Death Without Tenure is author Joanne Dobson’s sixth mystery featuring English professor Karen Pelletier. Fans of the series will no doubt be pleased with this latest tale of murder in the academic world of New England’s Enfield College.
But readers new to the saga of Karen and her unintentional involvement in crime-solving will still find it a great read – it stands up perfectly on its own with no prior knowledge of characters necessary.
The novel, published by Poisoned Pen Press, opens with Professor Pelletier awaiting word on her acceptance for a tenured position at the college. But her rival for the position, Professor Joe Lone Wolf, is found dead, and she becomes a prime suspect thanks to a conniving homicide cop with a grudge against Karen’s love interest Charlie, who’s stationed in Iraq.
There are many sub-plots in the book, including students being harassed for political and religious beliefs, an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, revelations about the murder victim’s Native American heritage, and complications with Karen’s ill and aged mother.
The book has a very contemporary feel, tackles serious subjects, and focuses on an engrossing murder, yet can definitely be classified as “fun” thanks to the light-handed approach by author Dobson, herself an English professor at Fordham University.
It’s just an “educated” guess, but after reading Death Without Tenure, fans old and new will no doubt be eager to read book number seven in the Karen Pelletier series.