An Act of Murder, (Professor Prather Mystery, #1)


Even though quirky Professor Emmeline Prather has a PhD in French literature, she teaches English at the small campus of Copper Bluffs in South Dakota maintaining hope that one day the quaint college will have a French Department. Late one evening when she accidentally overhears a disturbing conversation between a male and a female and then later identifies the male as one of her new students, she’s unsure if she should broach the subject with him. However, before she makes a decision he’s found dead in the campus theater. Convinced he was murdered, Em investigates and talks fellow professor Lenny Jenkins into helping her. Together they uncover a lot of facts and several suspects, but it isn’t until the end that Em takes all the pieces and fits them into a complete, and damning, picture.


Lovers of literature, quirky characters, small towns, and Hercule Poirot will delight in this suspect-filled cozy mystery! As the author guides Em in her amateur investigation, nothing in this story is explained in simple terms. Emmeline is a thought-provoking character who cares deeply about her job and her students, but spends an inordinate amount of time waxing poetic and has a difficult time conversing without using multiple literary references. Her head is so full of metaphor, simile, and allegory that it tends to drag the story to a crawl while the reader wades through the chaff to get to the wheat. Pruning the purple prose and increasing Em’s interactions with other characters would transform this keeps-you-guessing-until-the-end mystery into a classic.


Carol Conley