"FASCINATING . . . The dialogue is, as always, elegant and polished."
--Los Angeles Times
While guest-teaching a semester at Schuyler Law School, Kate Fansler gets to know an extraordinary secretary named Harriet, who patterns her life after John le Carré's character George Smiley. Harriet reveals that Schuyler has some serious skeletons swinging in its perfectly appointed closets, including the fate of Schuyler's only tenured female professor and a faculty wife who has killed her husband. As if Kate doesn't have enough to tackle, she is also up against the men who comprise the faculty of Schuyler itself--a thoroughly unapologetic bastion of white male power, mediocrity, and misogyny. Although she has only a few months on campus, Kate refuses to let Schuyler's rigid ideals and insistence on secrecy suppress her indefatigable curiosity--or her obsession with the truth. . . .
"Cross manages to keep this book as lighthearted and witty as any of the Kate Fansler mysteries, while depicting an institution as lethal as any cold war."
"A funny, snappish polemic on political correctitude that takes great relish in Kate's sardonic views."
--The New York Times Book Review
In her latest jab at academia's underside, New York City literature professor Kate Fansler, last seen in The Players Come Again, team teaches a course in ``Women in Law and Literature'' at Schuyler Law School while her husband, law professor Reed Amhearst, establishes a student-staffed legal clinic. Among Schuyler's predominantly mediocre and sexist faculty is a lively and mysterious 60-ish secretary named Harriet who models herself on John le Carre's fictional spy, George Smiley. Harriet, like Kate's teaching partner Blair Whitson, voices concern that the recent death of a feminist professor at Schuyler might not have been an accident. Harriet is also interested in the imprisoned Betty Osborne, who murdered her husband for ``no reason'' (as one Schuyler professor says: ``Of course he didn't beat her; he was a member of this faculty.''). Just as Kate begins to look into these deaths, she and Blair face a conservative backlash from a surprising quarter, touching off skirmishes sure to shake Schuyler's complacent foundations. While Kate and Reed are as appealing as ever, the real draw of this thinking-reader's mystery is the anger-at the limitations of women's roles in society (imposed and assumed)-that fuels it and its thoroughly disclosed academic setting. Besides posing and solving a neat puzzle, Cross provides a gold mine of stinging quotes for feminist college professors to post on their doors. Author tour.