Discover new authors (or revisit old favorites) with The Poisoned Martini ‘s Recommended Reads. Perhaps these suggested titles will expand your reading list.
Murder mysteries are an exercise in using our little grey cells to solve the crime. What better setting for a devious crime than an academic one? The approaching fall season reminds us of the return to schools, colleges, and universities. Return to school with these dozen mysteries featuring academic settings or sleuths.
Quick Study by Maggie Barbieri (2008) – In this third book in this cozy series, English professor Alison Bergeron is asked by a friend to help find his missing nephew. Turns out her NYPD detective boyfriend has already found the nephew…dead. The boy was pulled out of the Hudson River, but neither Alison nor her boyfriend, Bobby, think it was an accident.
Death in a Tenured Position by Amanda Cross (1981) – The appointment of a woman—the first—to the English Department rankles the old boys of Harvard. After suffering an embarrassment, the new professor, Janet Campari, asks her friend Kate Fansler to help find out who’s trying to damage her reputation. Before Kate arrives though, Janet is found dead. This is the sixth book in the Kate Fansler series.
Murder on Campus by Hazel Holt (2011) – In the fifth book in this cozy series, Mrs. Malory accepts a position teaching English literature at a small Pennsylvania university. When a much-hated colleague is shot dead, Shelia Malory decides to assist the local investigator, Lieutenant Landis, who may have a romantic interest in her.
Poisoned Ivy by M. D. Lake (1992) – In Lake’s third Peggy O’Neill Mystery Series case, a disgruntled co-ed bites into a poisoned apple presumably meant for an unpopular dead. Campus security guard Peggy will once again overstep her authority to track down the killer.
The Probability of Murder by Ada Madison (2012) – Mathematics Professor Sophie Knowles investigates the murder of her friend and librarian, Charlotte Crocker. This is the second book in the series, following The Square Root of Murder (2011). Ada Madison is a pseudonym for author Camille Minichino who writes the Periodic Table Mystery series.
Death at the Alma Mater by G. M. Malliet (2010) – St. Michael’s College invites wealthy alums for a fundraising weekend reunion that ends in murder. Inspector St. Just arrives to interrogate each suspect in turn and find the killer. This is the third St. Just mystery. See my review here.
The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez (2006) – An Argentine graduate student and an Oxford professor will need to use their skills in mathematics and logic and work together to solve a series of murders. Also a movie starring Elijah Wood and John Hurt.
Murder on the Blackboard by Stuart Palmer (1932) – In her third mystery, schoolteacher Miss Withers must ferret out the identity of a killer stalking the halls of her own school! Also a 1934 film starring Edna May Oliver. See my review here.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Gillian Roberts (1994) – Schoolteacher Amanda Pepper accompanies her friend Sasha to Atlantic City for a vacation. When Sasha is accused of bludgeoning a stranger in her hotel room, Amanda searches for the truth. This is the fifth book in the Amanda Pepper cozy mystery series.
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers (1935) – In his tenth appearance, Lord Peter Wimsey helps Harriet Vane (in her third appearance) to solve a series of malicious pranks that may lead to murder at Harriet’s alma mater.
Orange Crushed by Pamela Thomas-Graham (2005) – Nikki Chase attends a Princeton conference where her old friend and mentor, Professor Earl Stokes, will be honored. Stokes, who has written a controversial book on race issues, is rumored to be leaving Princeton for Harvard. Someone makes the professor’s departure permanent, and Nikki is determined to find out who killed him. This is the third book in author Thomas-Graham’s Ivy League campus setting mysteries.
Grave Matters by Margaret Yorke (1973) – A retired headmistress has a fatal fall in Greece. A friend of hers later takes a fatal tumble down the stairs in the British Museum. Dr. Patrick Grant believes the two deaths are related and anything but accidental. Using logic and deduction, Grant searches for the connection in a sinister string of events that lead to a seemingly quiet English village. The third book in Yorke’s Patrick Grant series.
Have you read these or other books in the series? Comment on your favorite academic mysteries.