Thursday, March 12, 2015

Amanda Cross. Honest Doubt (2000)

     Amanda Cross. Honest Doubt (2000) This book introduces Estelle “Woody” Woodham, a PI hired by first the family then the colleagues of Charles Haycock, a professor of English at a small liberal arts college somewhere in New Jersey. The man was hated by everyone, all his colleagues are suspects. Woody doesn’t know much about the academic “country”, so a mutual friend recommends she consult with Kate Fansler. Fansler’s husband Reed calls in a favour which links Woody up with Don Jackson, who explains that the local police department would be happy for her to solve the case, which she does. A movie of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express figures in the solution, which Woody can’t share with anyone, not even Don.
     Woody is an appealing heroine. She deprecates herself because she’s fat, but she knows her craft, and she knows people. Kate has a background role only, perhaps Cross was tired of showing us academe from Kate’s privileged point of view. Despite having a law degree, Woody is no academic; as an outsider she’s a good vehicle for Cross’s satire. All in all a nicely done entertainment, narrated by a character whom we would like to know even better. There was one more Kate Fansler mystery published after this one, I’ve not found it and don’t know whether it continues with Woody or reverts to Kate.
     Amanda Cross was the pseudonym of Carolyn Gold Heilbrun, more  at Wiki.
     I liked this book as much as the other Kate Fansler novels. Cross has the gift of writing not only believable but intelligent conversation. ***

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