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Academic Body [Kindle Edition]

Shirley S. Allen
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A retired theatrical director struggles with a new career as drama professor at a small, Maine college while trying to woo his wife away from the New York stage.

When he finds himself a murder suspect, he becomes a reluctant sleuth with only three weeks in which to solve all three problems.

Product Details

  • File Size: 436 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Mark Williams international Digital Publishing (MWiDP) (April 25, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007YJ3JLW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #785,693 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Murderous Romp thru Academia June 24, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Move over Nick and Nora Charles, there's a new crime solving couple in town. We're not talking Manhattan, the Charles' turf, here, but the rarified world of academia as practiced in the northern wilds of Maine's Weaver College.
Allen's book begins with a mystery's fan I-must-read-this cover. This one features a cozy library, complete with the well shod and very turned up toes of Dean Todd. It seems the dean has a penchant for rooting out faculty secrets that would put any truffle sniffing oinker to shame.
Enter Paul Goodwin, a former theatrical director whose heart problems motivate him to begin a new, less stressful (he thinks) career as a drama professor. His wife Lenore, a Broadway actress, is somewhat less than thrilled at the prospect of life at a small town college.
When someone "offs" the dean, Paul turns amateur sleuth as the finger of suspicion points to him. In this endeavor he's aided, abetted--and sometimes thwarted--by the lovely Lenore.
The problem is not too few suspects, but too many, including the Dean's wife, his secretary, a professor who's an expert in seaweed, a colleague whose husband has a wandering eye, the police chief, and a very nubile co-ed.
I love the sensual aspects of this novel, the circumspect but highly charged sexual chemistry between the couple, the fact that they're not above tippling a bit and enjoying gourmet meals prepared mostly by Paul himself for the woman he loves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely done academic mystery December 4, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have some reservations with regard to the mystery plot, not serious, mildly annoying; over-all, however, I do not have any hesitancy in recommending the book to all readers of cozy and/or academic mysteries. The central character, a former theatrical director, forced to teach after a heart attack requires him to separate himself from the stress of show business, is well-drawn playing his new role as a professor of drama. Other characters are not as well delineated but, presumably, if this becomes one of a series, that situation will be rectified. As I have said, some aspects of the mystery, its causes and solution, were a bit out of joint, but not to a degree sufficient to prevent my giving it an emphatic recommendation. Naturally, I cannot give details without spoiling the plot for you. The academic setting is only sketched to the extent it is needed for the plot; actually the
"tyrannical" Dean who is the centerpiece of the story, was a commonplace figure 40 years before this book was written.
The author has written a solidly competitive book
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder Most Foul March 22, 2010
The academics at Weaver College are maintaining their exemplary standards, setting a stellar example for their students. Extramarital affairs, presumptuous posturing, blackout drinking, and gossip are part of campus life for this faculty. But when their blackmailing dean is suddenly murdered, all who saw him that night become suspects. retired stage director Paul Godwin, lately turned professor, and his actress wife Lenore ponder the dean's death with the theatrical knowledge of given circumstances, personal motivation, and a thorough comprehension of Shakespeare's classic tragedies and Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, which seamlessly parallel the action. A hilarious farce about college life delivers us to the circumstances that lead to murder most foul.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Passes the time August 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story is okay if you can accept that a drama teacher, with no criminal investigative background of any kind, is asked by the local police to investigate a murder. I suppose if you have a non-police person doing the investigation, you don't have to know anything about police procedure and you can have the main character bungle their way to the solution. Of course, Agatha Christi had us believing that a small village old maid could solve the most devious of crimes, so why not a college drama professor?

I thought the romance being between husband and wife was a good twist.

Bottom line? If you're looking for a serious murder mystery, look elsewhere. If you don't mind reading a bit of fluff in an old-fashioned who-done-it, no sex, no violence way, this one isn't bad.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this gem.

The plot in Academic Body revolves around the murder of the Dean, a truly horrid and
despicable creature, and the attempts by a "retired" NYC theater-director-turned-drama-professor's
attempts to solve the crime.

Ms Allen, deeply knowledge about the academic life in small colleges, nails the atmosphere,
the internecine squabbling, the pomposity and the rivalries that thrive in faculty bodies.

Set in a small liberal arts college just north of Augusta Maine, Academic Body spins out
over a period just under a month with an extremely clever plot and a satisfying resolution
at the end.

Although the time period of the novel is not given, it is before the existence of the internet
and the cell phone but after the initial struggles of the Women's liberation movement, or as
it is now known, the feminist movement.

I would place the time between the mid 70s and the early 80s.

For someone who lived through that period and, indeed, lived it in academe, the story rings
exceedingly true. Sure, there are a few slips when post 2000 terms or references are
made, but I attribute the few that I caught not to the author but to an editor
who probably believes that we have always referred to information as "the 411" and
that we have always had crime shows centered around crime labs. There are
a very small of these out of era references, and would only be noticed by
nit-pickers like myself.

An excellent mystery in the Agatha Christie mode where there are plenty of motives,
plenty of suspects, and plenty of vivid personalities.

Academic Body is a witty, smart mystery that should not be missed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The murder and the secrets come rolling out
This book opens a door, inviting you in to the ordinary home and life on a college campus. The characters are well developed and likeable. Read more
Published 2 months ago by DeNisa Howe
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent although slightly boring murder mystery
Aside from the writing style, which I found pretty interesting, this was a basic murder mystery novel. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Sudden ending
Ending was sudden and complex reasoning at times.
Good detective work. I may re read it in the future.
Published 12 months ago by wampy
2.0 out of 5 stars 'Academic Body' - not very academic. Beware of profanity.
The story was slightly dragged out but still quite interesting. However, the ending was very sloppy.
It appears the author ran out of ideas ad just cut it off. Read more
Published 15 months ago by LAWonder
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun to read mystery.
This is a well written and fun to read murder mystery. I didn't figure out the "who done it" until the very end.
Published 15 months ago by Margie
2.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight Entry
This mystery sounded like it had all the right ingredients to be a first rate cosy but it just didn't deliver. Read more
Published 18 months ago by BettyAnn Hegland
5.0 out of 5 stars Gives "Publish or Perish" New Meaning
The story opens in the icy rain en route to the Dean's Reception. Paul Godwin's stunning wife Lenore, a Broadway star, has just arrived from New York, hopefully to stay. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Debra Eve
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Old Fashioned Murder Mystery
This was a very well written and edited book about a small New England college murder. Because it was set in the early 1960s, it was a good story about old-fashioned detective... Read more
Published 18 months ago by QueenBean84
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I enjoyed reading this book by Shirley Allen. It was a fascinating study of colege life, what it is and what it ought to be. Read more
Published 19 months ago by J. Robert Ewbank
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Crafted Mystery in Academe!
I really loved this book. Shirley S. Allen has managed to write a ripping mystery that zips along and has the academic setting down pat. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Paul A. Fahey
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More About the Author

Shirley S. Allen is a Shakespearean scholar, political columnist, and novelist. She's the author of the historical mystery ACADEMIC BODY and the biographical novel ROXANNA BRITTON.

Her book on the 19th century actor-manager Samuel Phelps, SAMUEL PHELPS AND SADLER'S WELLS THEATRE, is widely considered the definitive work on Mr. Phelps.

An active nonagenarian, she lives in Walnut Creek, CA and writes a monthly column, "The Progressive View" for the Rossmoor News.

Ms. Allen was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1921. She received a B.A. from Carleton College and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College. Among her scholarly publications is a history of performances of Shakespeare's plays during the years of the Gold Rush in California, requested for the International Shakespeare Conference in Stratford in 1981. She is a great-granddaughter of Roxanna Britton.

She is also the companion of a strong-minded longhaired Chihuahua named Portia.

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