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The Widening Stain Paperback – October 15, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: Rue Morgue (October 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601870086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601870087
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,215,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Mystery writing used the be beneath academics, so when a Cornell professor of romance literature by the name of Morris Bishop wrote his one and only mystery under a pseudonym, the future provost hid behind his fake name. He published under Dashiell Hammett's and Raymond Chandler's publisher, and eventually became Provost of Cornell. Even as he denied authorship, Bishop scribbled a limerick establishing his guilt and remorse as author of THE WIDENING STAIN, to be found in Cornell's Olin library for posterity.

With librarian Gilda Gorman, chief cataloger at the University library in the role of female sleuth, this fanciful mystery begins with a build-up to the boring President's reception, which is attended by reluctant faculty. Gilda and her would-be fiance, the tall, blond, and handsome Francis Perry, are discussing the merits of a possible marriage. Gilda has determined that she really doesn't know much about Perry, and seems to be throwing obstacles at his proposal:

"'I would tell you anything you want to know, Gilda.' Parry's voice was low.

'Well now, for example - last year, as you probably know, your name and that of Lucie Coindreau were, in that nice phrase, coupled. Was there anything serious between you?'

'Would it make any difference?'

'I don't know. I think it might.'

'Well, then - no.'"

With that conversation and the subsequent discovery of the 'dark-hair Frenchwoman who arouses the beast in men,' the suave Perry in fact loses his love. As far as Gilda is concerned, she is the curious sort who only wants to find Mademoiselle Coindreau's murderer, even if it means putting herself at risk. The stain widens as more are pulled into the initial murder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Khirul on August 16, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bishop produced a well plotted, literate murder mystery with colorful characters and an engaging female amateur detective. Her methods aren't sophisticated, but they are credible for someone who is intelligent but finds herself suspect in a murder. I do wish he had written more of them.

I am bothered by the fact that the book cover and the official description of the book given by Amazon both identify Parry as the sleuth -- signs of the male chauvenist world. Even when the author was writing about an able and intelligent woman, someone reading it carelessly ascribes her accomplishment to her "boyfriend". And I agree that little of his humor is good, just the usual limp sexual innuendo that immature men shared to bolster their egos or keep women in their place.
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By Parker W. Snapp on January 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mirris Bishop, a.k.a. Bolingbroke Johnson, is the limerick guy. His murder mystery pokes fun at academia, and I kike that, but the book is most fun for the limericks, which are funny, often showing the benefits of a very large vocabulary, and never vulgar. Je can do a wonderful other verse form too, and I first heard of him when a freind sent me a couple of his verses clipped from the New Yorker. Rue Morgue Press is to be congratulated for publishing The Widening Stain and Tom and Enid Shantz write a fascinating introduction. Unforunately, there will be no more limericks from the Limerick Guy. The library and the college of the book must be Cornell.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Poller VINE VOICE on December 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a former univ library cataloger, I just adored this book whose "sleuth" is such a one and cute too. I particularly enjoyed the scenes set in the stacks which reminded me of the old U of Minnesota library or the old U of Chicago library. The humor didn't seem all that humorous to me but the romantic exchanges were fine and the characters seemed pretty realistic for the time: 1942. If you enjoy slightly older mysteries definitely search for this one.
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