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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Forced Retirement, October 30, 2004
This review is from: A Trap for Fools (Kate Fansler Novels) (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. PC, a novelist, tells Kate that she is involved in the long march through institutions.

Slowly Kate gets a feel for how the security of the large university is managed. Kate meets one of the sons of the victim, Lawrence Adams. He reports that his father had become a neoconservative. He was traumatized by Anti-Vietnam events.

One of the characters notes that endless committees have tried to find out who governs academic institutions. A friend tells Kate that the university asked her to take on the investigation because they knew it couldn't be solved. Sadly, though, someone else is pushed out a window and found near Riverside Drive.

Canny had flirted with younger women and was rude to older ones, Kate learns. He lied and blamed others for his mistakes. Kate is told by a former secretary in Adams's department that the ignorance of the faculty is exceeded only by their impatience. Kate considers the notion that in the beginning teaching dominates the academic's existence, but that after time passes politics, research and other matters become more predominant.

I won't detail the solution to the mysteries in order to preserve the reader's fun. This is an excellent crime novel.
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Location: Medina, Ohio, USA

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