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Death Without Tenure (Professor Karen Pelletier Mysteries) Hardcover – January 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Professor Karen Pelletier Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590585852
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590585856
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,688,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Agatha-finalist Dobson's sixth mystery to feature English professor Karen Pelletier (after 2003's The Maltese Manuscript) earns a passing grade. Karen is up for the sole open tenure spot in her department at Massachusetts's Enfield College, but the department chairman is championing her underqualified Native American colleague, Joe Lone Wolf, which sends Karen into a dither. She also worries about her boyfriend's deployment to Iraq and her daughter's jaunt to Nepal. After someone slips Joe a fatal overdose of what may be peyote, she becomes the prime murder suspect. Plenty of other suspects emerge from the stereotypical cast of faculty and students, as Dobson trots out a plague of academic bugaboos, including drugs, false credentials, plagiarism, faculty in-fighting and hate crimes. When Karen stops dithering and starts playing detective, things heat up quickly. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Professor Karen Pelletier is preparing to fulfill her dream of a tenured position in the English department of Enfield College, a prestigious New England institution. As she assembles her dossier, she learns that her rival for the chair, Native American professor Joseph Lone Wolf, has died of a peyote overdose. His minority status gave him an advantage and puts Karen at the top of the suspect list. A homicide detective with a grudge against her cop boyfriend, Lieutenant Charlie Piotroski, who is away serving in the National Guard in Iraq, makes sure that she stays on the A-list. Meanwhile, the petty squabbles of academia rage as the politically correct chair of the department and the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Whiteness Studies argue over the course list, and two of Karen’s favorite students, a Muslim woman and a coal-miner’s son, get caught up in the squabble. Dobson, who teaches at Fordham University, provides an amusing and accurate view of academia with her au courant plot and colorful characters. --Barbara Bibel

More About the Author

Joanne Dobson's latest novel, The Kashmiri Shawl, is her first venture into the genre of historical fiction. The novel tells an evocative tale of Anne Wheeler's epic journey from the sultry climes of 19th c. India to the cosmopolitan chaos of New York City, in search of a lost daughter and a forbidden love. The Kashmiri Shawl has been met with great enthusiasm by readers.

Joanne is also a mystery novelist and a scholar of American literature. Her six-book Professor Karen Pelletier mystery series won her an Agatha nomination and a Noted Author of the Year award from the New York State Library Association.

Formerly a tenured professor of American Literature at Fordham University, Joanne now teaches in National Endowment for the Humanities and Fulbright Fellowship International summer programs at Amherst College. She also teaches Creative Writing at the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Sleepy Hollow, NY. In 2014, Joanne was honored by the Writer's Center as Noted Woman of Letters.

Customer Reviews

This was a spellbinding story and well written.
Peter Foster
There was, for my taste, a bit too much detail at times about a particular decor, or the details of dress where there was little need.
carl brookins
Hope there will be a seventh book in the series.
Mystery Fan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mary Beth on February 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Joanne Dobson has done it again. She has brought back Karen Pelletier and I can't wait for the next
installment. The entire series is wonderful--the best in academic mystery. Without giving anything
away, it is set in small, exclusive Enfield College. Karen is brave, brilliant, and resilient. She
is not your typical English professor at a snooty school! This book is very 2010--with attention to
social issues and a very clever use of Facebook. I would definitely recommend this book and would
also hope that people would go back to the beginning and read the entire series.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In Massachusetts, Enfield College English Professor Karen Pelletier is up for tenure. Her rival has much less experience and papers than Karen has. However, the department chair is pushing Native American Joe Lone Wolf for the spot.

Upset by what she knows is unfair treatment, Karen is also anxious about her daughter Amanda who is in Kathmandu, Nepal and her boyfriend U.S. National Guard Bureau Lieutenant and State Police Investigator as a civilian Charles Piotrowski deployed to Iraq. When Joe dies from apparent peyote poisoning, the police suspect Karen as she had plenty to gain with the competition removed. Not one to sit by idly, Karen puts aside her personal concerns made worse by a jealous "Person" in the department to investigate and soon locates other suspects from among the faculty, staff and student bodies.

Professor Pelletier's latest amateur sleuth (see The Maltese Manuscript) is a fascinating whodunit that starts off a bit slow as Karen whines about the unfairness of academic life, but accelerates once the heroine gets out of her funk to investigate the homicide. The story line somewhat lampoons the college world as Karen's inquiries lead to stereotype characters from all lines of academia and their related issues. Fans will enjoy the New England English professor who puts aside her companion The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson to investigate who killed her rival.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By carl brookins VINE VOICE on April 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
For me, a mildly awkward title, but the story is anything but. Author Joanne Dobson
has written another fascinating insider tale about the machinations of the very
private and often arcane world of higher academia. The novel, sixth in the series,
is set in the rarified world of Enfield College, a private high priced and high
minded institution of higher learning.

While college and collegial are from the same root, and college administrations and
faculties try to project an aura of patience, calm and reasoned discourse, we all
know, when we stop to think about it, it ain't always so.

Karen Pelletier is six years into her faculty position in the English Department at
Enfield.. She is beset by an incompetent department chair and a colleague who gives
her the willies. It is tenure decision time. In the academic faculty world, one's
position is essentially temporary until the faculty, deans and ultimately the college
administration, makes a proffer of tenure. Tenure usually means one has a life-time
appointment, so it's a pretty big deal. What's more, if you aren't awarded tenure,
you have to leave the institution. Pelletier is in the midst of collecting and
refining her tenure materials for timely presentation. There are two professors up
for tenure and only one position available. Then her competition is murdered. With
law enforcement looking intently her way, the intrepid professor has to deal with a
raft of odd characters, out-of-the-norm students, political incorrectness and most of
the other ills that occasionally beset college campuses.

Author Dobson is peerless in her depiction of the nuanced atmosphere and language of
the college.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Annie P on February 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
Thanks go to Joanne Dobson for another awesome adventure with Karen Pelletier! I was hooked from page one and I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen. Joanne Dobson weaves a fast paced interesting and intelligent story in all of the Karen Pelletier books and Death Without Tenure does not disappoint. I love Karen and I always enjoy the supporting cast of characters. I can't wait for the next Karen Pelletier book. If you haven't read the previous books you are in for a treat with each one. Happy reading!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mystery Fan on February 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great to have another book about Professor Karen Pelletier. Joanne Dobson really captures the machinations of academia. Since an earlier reviewer has related the plot, there is no need to restate it. So, I will just say that "Death Without Tenure" has an engaging protagonist, a compelling mystery, and wonderful on-campus ambiance. Hope there will be a seventh book in the series. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By terry culross on September 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Haven't read Dobson for awhile, so really enjoyed catching up with Professor Karne Pelletier and all the foibles of academe!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E.B. Bristol VINE VOICE on September 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What's more stressful than facing the process needed to secure tenure at a liberal arts university? Well, how about being a murder suspect, like Karen Pelletier, a professor whose blue collar roots sometimes put her at odds with the prestigious Enfield College, where she teaches in Joanne Dobson`s "Death Without Tenure,"? The murder suspect part has happened to her several times before (this is a series) and her current love interest is a detective, but it's still tough. Karen's rival for tenure, Joe Lone Wolf, has an ethnic advantage in this PC climate, but when he is murdered, Karen must once again exonerate herself. The fictional Enfield College, located in the Amherst area of MA, doesn't have quite as many crimes as "Law & Order's" Hudson U, but still plenty.

As the book opens, Karen is commiserating with colleague Miles Jewell, the first clue to a longtime series fan that things have changed. Jill, Karen's best friend at Enfield, appears only briefly here. We do find out what happens to Karen's daughter, Amanda after she graduates, as well as several other students who played major roles in earlier books. Established characters, like Trooper Felicity Schultz and Enfield President Avery Mitchell play roles, as well.

Things have changed since I went to college a decade ago, and the author has fun parodying them. `Writing' like `print' is passe," a student informs Karen proudly as she's filling in for her deceased colleague. "Our texts include Facebook and YouTube." Fortunately, though, Facebook proves handy when Karen needs to investigate her colleague's background and solve the mystery. Overall, this latest in the series is a satisfying read, though it seems a little rushed in places.
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