Sunday, October 19, 2014

Conrad Haynes. Bishop’s Gambit Declined (1987)

     Conrad Haynes. Bishop’s Gambit Declined (1987) I’m a sucker for novels set in Academia. Here,  it’s a fictitious private liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon. There’s some satire of academics and administrators, but they’re easy targets, and Haynes is wise enough not to overdo it. The hero is Henry Bishop, a stereotypical unruly professor, who enjoys teaching and respects his students, as well as those of his colleagues who like him value thorough scholarship. A too-good-to-be true female detective sergeant and an apparent sleaze ball of a reporter interfere with each other’s investigations. The murders are designed to cover up an ancient semi-crime, and are not really necessary, but they make a good scaffold for the story, which is handled in movie-style scenes and with decent dialogue. The occasional authorial omniscient asides grate enough that I’d have cut them. All in all, good of its kind. **

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