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When student Francie Steele finally makes her relationship with Professor Samuel Pope public at a faculty tea, the results are understandably awkward. Even though she’s older than the average undergrad, and has a five-year old daughter, it’s still mildly scandalous.
The scandal gets a lot deeper when one of Sam’s colleagues dies, and Francie can’t accept the official pronouncement of suicide. This charming story of mystery and murder is enlivened by the developing affection between Sam and Francie, and should appeal to fans of both romance and mystery stories.
The tale is well-paced and the characters interestingly drawn. It must be noted that this is a novel written in the “first person”, so readers get to experience all the action through Francie’s eyes and thoughts – a slight drawback, given the character of Sam Pope, who probably had many interesting notions of his own that unfortunately we don’t get to share.
When Francie’s wedding plans become enmeshed with her continuing investigation into the alleged suicide, matters heat up until the inevitable dénouement and the revelation of the guilty party. Most experienced mystery readers will probably have had a pretty good guess as to the identity of the perpetrator, but that is part of the fun of a whodunit - matching the clues and the evidence.
Other than Francie’s tendency to be a bit of a wimp at times, this book has much to recommend it to fans of mysteries and romances…please note the mystery aspect is probably the strongest, since although the romance is present, it is alluded to more than described. Here is a place where some of Sam’s thoughts might have added dimension to the relationship. However, it’s a fun story, and although maybe not a keeper, it’s certainly entertaining.