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A Trap for Fools: A Kate Fansler Mystery Hardcover – April 10, 1989

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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The ninth mystery featuring English professor Kate Fansler proves why Cross ( No Word from Winifred ) belongs at the top of her class: it is provocative, literate and insightful. During the Thanksgiving weekend, Canfield Adams, a Middle Eastern professor of culture and literature at the Manhattan university where Kate teaches, is found dead on the pavement seven stories below his office window. While everyone is convinced he was murdered, the only suspect in the case is another faculty member, black political activist Humphrey Edgerton, who has no alibi for the night of the crime. But Canfield was universally disliked. With the prospect of his widow filing a lawsuit against the university and the police inquiry at a standstill, the administration asks Kate to investigate. Before she can discover the culprit, a student who was seen in Canfield's building the day he was killed is pushed from her 10th floor apartment. Depressed by the young woman's death and overwhelmed by her impending failure, Kate faces her greatest challenge as an amateur sleuth. Cross, a keen observer of society, has created a potpourri of well-drawn female characters. This is a mystery offering much more than just a puzzle; it is a strong feminist statement abounding with interesting ideas.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

When I read THE JAMES JOYCE MURDER, I instantly became a fan of Amanda Cross and her protagonist, English professor Kate Fansler. And I continued to devour this wonderful series: THE QUESTION OF MAX, DEATH IN A TENURED POSITION, NO WORD FROM WINIFRED -- and onward. In time, I (and many other readers) came to realize that "Amanda Cross" is a pseudonym for Dr. Carolyn G. Heilbrun, the revered Columbia University professor whose WRITING A WOMAN'S LIFE and other nonfiction volumes are recognized as ground-breaking classics in literary criticism and feminist studies. My admiration for the author grew and grew -- in both her guises. And then a few years ago, I had the great good fortune to become the editor of her "Amanda Cross" half. Which has given me many opportunities to get to know Carolyn personally (it helps that we live only a few blocks from each other). So I've been in the company of this widely beloved author for autograph parties, bookstore events, an honorary dinner, and recently at the ALA (American Library Association) conference, where scores of adoring fans -- librarians and educators -- patiently queued up to get personally autographed copies of THE PUZZLED HEART, the latest Fansler mystery, as well as backlist titles in the series. Even with the resultant writer's cramp, it was a great day for "Amanda." And another cherished memory I have of this charming, gracious, and multitalented author.

--Joe Blades, Associate Publisher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 154 pages
  • Publisher: E. P. Dutton; 1st edition (April 10, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525247548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525247548
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,284,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Moe811 on October 14, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dr. Canfield Adams egotistical chair of the Islamic studies department is found dead on the pavement below his office window. The police see no reason to suspect foul play, but anyone who has met the man knows that he is the last person in the world to commit suicide. There are many suspects, but the police have locked in on the most unlikely, Kate's friend Humphrey Egereton. Adams resented the fact that Egereton's black students would use an office in his building for meetings. Kate is pressured into investigating by her friend in the administration, Edna, who tells Kate that she is the only one who can solve the matter discreetly.
I found myself unable to put this book down. It was by far the quickest read of all Cross' novels. The story has many twists and turns and a surprise ending that I didn't expect at all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rosemary Brunschwyler on October 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
A TRAP FOR FOOLS is a fairly good mystery story about the murder of an unpopular college professor. University authorities ask faculty member Kate Fansler to conduct her own investigation of the death in addition to the police inquiry.
It helps if the reader is familiar with the quirky and sometimes mean atmosphere found at many colleges. It also helps if the reader is interested in literature as well as feminine and minority rights issues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Sibley VINE VOICE on October 30, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A man's body is found on the Sunday after Thanksgiving on the campus. Apparently there was an unbroken fall of seven stories from the man's Levy Hall office. It is Professor Canfield Adams. The president, Matthew Noble, mentally notes forty or so people with homicidal motives. Most people have alibis. Professor Adams recently served on a committee with Kate Fansler. The solution to the murder escapes everyone as the fall semester gives way to the spring. Kate is told that she is the university's only hope of solving the crime.

Canfield Adams never seemed to finish a sentence. He had been a dandy. Being a detective at her own university makes Kate nervous. She is afraid that she will fail. Reed and Kate go to Adams's office. It is a fact that Professor Adams could have stayed in his position for a long time. Butler, the security man, tells Kate that Adams was a sorry man.

Kate calls on Cecilia Adams, the widow. She claims that Adams had been canny. He spoke of possessing superior understanding. Cecilia is a relatively youthful second wife. She points out that since Canfield had been as protective of himself as a turtle there is little reason to believe his death was accidental. Kate attends an informal gathering of university women. She asks for help to solve the case and promises anonymity, discretion where required.

She is contacted by Penelope Constable, PC, who had had a personal encounter with the victim in the past. PC has a listing in WHO'S WHO. The encounter took place fifteen years earlier in Cambridge. It is possible Adams was lonely PC relates. There was a dalliance and then PC and Adams drifted apart. PC said that basically he was an unloving and untrusting man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By One-Reader on January 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ms. Cross' exceptional insights into human nature continues in this novel. She has a way of "turning a phrase" in a concise and cogent manner. The plot is interesting, but it is her main character, Kate Fansler, whose understanding of human interaction and motivation makes this such an enjoyable book. One note to potential readers, I have a hardcopy version of the 1989 edition. My copy, less than 20 years old, already appears to be turning brown at the edges, thus if you are planning to purchase this title you may want to consider the paperback edition.
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2 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Omnibus on October 18, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Women faculty and lethal politics and the wonder of Kipling: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; . . . . If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
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