(Note: I was given a free copy of this book for review but my opinion is my own.)
I’m going to be up front with you about Academic Affairs: A Poisoned Apple. This is an absolutely sweet murder mystery!
Sweet murder mystery? you ask.
The book is set in the 1930s in the sleepy town of Sparta, Alabama, where everybody knows your name — and what you’re up to.
There’s only one sheriff in town but his son and daughter help him out. And he definitely needs help solving the first murder to ever come his way.
Beaufort Prendergast, president of Chickamin Christian College died of an apparent heart attack. The next day, Jerry Pilkington, the Executive Dean for Academic Affairs was murdered by a poisoned apple. (Could the two be connected in some way?)
And there were lots of suspects!
Was it Mary Belle Dawon, a sophomore at the college who was being ‘tutored’ by the Dean and who delivered the apple to him (and also whom she was having an affair with)?
Was it Professor Darby, who was accused of plagiarism on a paper he wrote and who was trying to get the copies of scandalous pictures of his wife with Jerry Pilkington?
Was it Soo Hoo Lee, the greengrocer who sold the apples?
How about Miss Lavina, the Dean’s secretary? Did she secretly love the Dean and was she mad that he was never romantically interested in her?
Maybe it was Martha Dawson, who was Mary Belle’s mother and who could be outraged that the Dean was having an affair with her daughter?
What about Pilkington’s paraplegic wife (but then how could someone in a wheelchair murder her husband)?
And how about Joseph Ponza? He’s an excellent suspect because Pilkington raped his wife . . .
And then Miss Lavina goes and gets herself killed, too, by drinking poisoned liquor. Oh my!
Like I said, this is a sweet novel — no grisly, bloody scenes, no foul language, no graphic sexual details. It is a light book that is nicely crafted, holds your attention, and moves along nicely. It’s billed as being whimsical (playfully quaint) and I agree.
It’s also a short book. You could easily finish it in one sitting.
It is written by Peter Likins, who is President Emeritus of the University of Arizona, and former president of Lehigh University. While he was at Columbia University, he was the first dean of engineering and then executive vice president for academic affairs. So, he can totally write authentically about academic life.
I recommend that you read this book. You will enjoy it.
You can get a copy on Amazon for $15.