Thursday, June 09, 2011


Author: Bill Crider
ISBN: 0-373-26216-7
World Wide Library
Copyright: 1996 250 pages

Here we have a fine academic mystery that blends political correctness with private agendas in that often strange collection of individuals we know as private liberal arts colleges.

A new academic dean arrives on campus with a new curriculum which threatens to disrupt the college and Professor Carl Burns mostly peaceful life. The routine of the college has left Burns plenty of time to contemplate and woo the new love of his life, Elaine Tanner, college librarian. Never mind that his principal rival is the local Chief of Police.

Things are pretty calm and then a window above Professor Burns' head explodes and an unloved colleague crashes to the sidewalk two stories below, killing the man instantly. Was it murder? An accident? Burns is almost forced to participate in an investigation by the Chief of Police. He's reluctant because he knows that any serious poking under the tender surface of any collegiate community will likely release unwanted mercies not so tender.

Because of Crider's keen eye for the nuances of college life, and his understanding of the humor of it all, A Dangerous Thing is a delight. It abounds with gentle humor, made the more so because of its careful plotting, pacing and the talent of the writer. I recommend this mystery to fans of the cozy, of academic mysteries and to anyone who enjoys good writing.

You may have to search used book collections and a library or two to find this novel. It’s worth it.