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Cold and Pure and Very Dead

(The fourth book in the Karen Pelletier series)
A novel by

Karen Pelletier, assistant professor of English at prestigious Enfield College in Massachusetts, has opened a can of 44-year-old worms by telling New York Times writer Marty Katz that, in her opinion, Oblivion Falls was the greatest literary work of the past century.

Like Grace Metalious's 1956 cause célèbre, Peyton Place, Oblivion Falls blew the steamy lid off a respectable New England college town, made ground-breaking strides up the bestseller lists, and made a brilliant if briefly lit star of its author, the now reclusive Mildred Deakin. And now, thanks to Pelletier's intentionally provocative throwaway answer to a snooty writer's question, Oblivion Falls is back in the limelight: an Oprah's Book Club selection, at the top of the Times bestseller list, and one of's top 10. None of which explains why Marty Katz was found in the driveway of goat farmer Milly Finch, shot dead by a 30-30 Winchester.
"Re-e-e-ally?'" This was strange, even tragic, but so far I couldn't see any "circumstances" that linked the killing to me. "That's too bad," I said, then added, inanely, "he wrote so well."

"Did he?" the pale lieutenant asked, and exchanged another significant look with her subordinate. "Well, so did she, obviously. Write well, I mean. We haven't released this information to the general public yet, Professor, but a long time ago Milly Finch was a famous novelist. She published under the name of Mildred Deakin."
And with that, Pelletier and her longtime partner-in-solving-crime, Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant Charlie Piotrowski, are off. Nicely paced, plotted, and peopled with distractions romantic and decidedly otherwise (from campus newcomers Jake Fenton, the roguish author-in-residence, and Ralph Emerson Brooke, the fifties hipster sitting uneasily in the endowed Chair of Literary Studies, to the well-limned Milly Finch herself), this fourth entry in the Pelletier series may please newcomers most. Good as this is, Dobson's regulars have come to expect even more from Professor Pelletier. --Michael Hudson

Genre: Mystery

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