book cover of The Maltese Manuscript
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The Maltese Manuscript

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

From Publishers Weekly
In her fifth Prof. Karen Pelletier mystery, Dobson (Quieter Than Sleep) offers an academic novel both gutsy and romantic. Sound contradictory? It is, thanks to bestselling feminist author Sunnye Hardcastle, herself a dozen or so contradictions, who comes to Enfield College in Massachusetts with her rottweiler, Trouble, to speak on the hard-boiled women's detective novel at an English department conference. But trouble dogs Sunnye. Lavishly expensive texts and even a manuscript of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon disappear, despite a tight alarm system at the college library. Karen ends up hiding Sunnye from the local police, even though this brings down the wrath of Lt. Charlie Piotrowski, Karen's he-man lover, who's looking into the thefts. Murder muddles their affair, as well as the criminal investigation, which leads to two houses holding fabulous libraries, including many first editions, signed copies and manuscripts with marginal notes. Dobson's obvious knowledge of, and respect for, mystery and detective fiction is immense. She takes the reader on a glorious tour, describing everything from comic books to anthologies. Even the most moral mystery fans will understand why a person would want to purloin even one or two of these treasures.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
There's no one better than Dobson at playing the politics of academe--not for laughs as much as amused chuckles. Famed crime novelist Sunnye Hardcastle (think Patricia Cornwell) is part of Enfield's Women's Studies conference on crime fiction. Professor Karen Pelletier will serve as Hardcastle's keeper while balancing concern about tenure and her own classes. Meanwhile, some precious books and a Dashiell Hammet manuscript have disappeared from the college library. More rare books disappear, a researcher dies, and Hardcastle, the researcher, and the PI brought in to investigate turn out to have odd connections with each other. Dobson riffs brilliantly and hilariously on academic conferences and the hard-boiled female detective. She allows Karen the complexity of an adult relationship with a police lieutenant while seamlessly inserting graceful asides on food, clothing, music, and teaching styles. She gets the library stuff almost exactly right, too. The best so far in a thoroughly entertaining series. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

This is the fifth Karen Pelletier mystery, following COLD AND PURE AND VERY DEAD (2000), yet Dobson smoothly reintroduces her characters so that THE MALTESE MANUSCRIPT can serve as a starting point for readers new to the series. Karen is very funny and admirable, proud of her achievements but also aware of academia's absurdities. The supporting players are charming, as well, from the neurotic professors to Sunnye Hardcastle, who needs to take risks in order to avoid the loneliness of her life. Dobson's plot moves along swiftly to one final, bullet-dodging conclusion that will surprise readers with its twist on the traditional detective mystery.-January Magazine

Book Description
In classic noir tradition, English Professor Karen Pelletier gains a client when her office door opens and a famous Private Eye novelist enters. The author is dogged by Trouble (a Rottweiler) and by a problem. And since Sunnye Hardcastle (a Patricia Cornwell lookalike) will be a featured speaker in the English Department's upcoming conference on the murder mystery (from a Feminist Perspective), Karen is intrigued. The next thing you know, one midnight someone rushes out of the Enfield library with an armload of rare books. In fact, the library is missing a truckload of its treasures. Then a suspect is found dead in the stacks, his neck broken. With a real private eye on the case, the hunt is on?for the manuscript of Hammett's famous novel, The Maltese Falcon, for the missing books, and for potential murder suspects. A sparkling fifth entry in an award-nominated series by Fordham University professor Joanne Dobson riffs the hardboiled genre and several sacred icons. What is truth? What is fiction? No one seems certain. Perhaps most frustrated is Karen's boyfriend, Massachusetts police lieutenant Charlie Piotrowski, a man having trouble dividing his personal and professional life, let alone translating modern academic-speak. But then, don't we all? Joanne Dobson is the author of Quieter Than Sleep, The Northbury Papers, The Raven and the Nightingale, and Cold and Pure and Very Dead.

Genre: Mystery

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