The Northbury Papers Mass Market Paperback – Aug 3 1999
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Asked why she is fascinated by the "popular" (read "trashy") novels of 19th-century writer Serena Northbury, Professor Karen Pelletier says, "She's the only novelist I know from that era who writes about the kind of courage it takes to get through life day by day. No white whales. No uncharted forests. No scarlet letters. No great heroics at all. Just food and drink and perseverance. And ordinary kindness. And ordinary love." Then, to herself, she thinks, "A totally banal literary exegesis. If anyone in the English Department at Enfield heard it, I'd be drummed out of the profession." Serena Northbury doesn't exist: as Joanne Dobson tells us in an afterword, she's based on a novelist named Emma Southworth and also on Jo March, Louisa May Alcott's alter ego in Little Women. Karen Pelletier isn't real, either, but this second book about her (after Quieter Than Sleep) continues to make her one of the most interesting characters in recent crime fiction. Carpers might say that certain plot twists point to trouble down the road: both books are about missing old manuscripts; both have female scholarship students being sexually harassed by rich and/or powerful men; both find people Karen knows being murdered. As the increasingly attractive local cop, Lieutenant Piotrowski, says, "It's not that I don't appreciate your help. We coulda never unraveled this without you. But why does it always have to come to gunplay? Huh, Doctor? Can you tell me that? A nice quiet teacher like yourself: Why do you always end up facing a gun?" Well, lieutenant, it worked for Jessica Fletcher... --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Contradicting the joke that academic infighting is so fierce because the stakes are so small, a $10 million bequest may figure in murder at prestigious northeastern Enfield College. English professor Karen Pelletier (introduced in Quieter Than Sleep, 1997) decides to study the work of Serena Northbury, a 19th-century novelist considered trashy in her time. Pelletier, who advocates adding unheralded women and minority authors to the traditional literature curriculum, befriends the elderly and ailing Dr. Edith Hart, Northbury's great-granddaughter. Hart gives Pelletier access to her musty collection of Northbury writings and mementos. When Hart dies suddenly, police suspect foul play despite her old age and diabetes. Even Pelletier might have a motive, because Hart changed her will, leaving $10,000,000 to Enfield if Karen directs a research center devoted to Northbury. The windfall infuriates college trustee Thibault Brewster, a Hart relative who wanted more for himself. Brewster's son, known as Tibby II, disrupts one of Pelletier's classes and harasses a black female student. To such academic intrigues are added murder, missing manuscripts, the riddle of a baby picture from long ago and the news that Pelletier's former boyfriend is getting married. By the time this entertaining tale has revealed the full complement of small-mindedness on the Endicott campus, the unacademic local homicide detective, Piotrowski, is looking very appealing.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Those who liked Quieter than Sleep will probably enjoy The Northbury Papers as well.
I recommend reading Quieter than Sleep before this book because the characters won't make as much sense without having read that book first. Otherwise, you may find this book to be below average for a literary mystery.
Professor Karen Pelletier has had a long-time interest in the neglected popular women authors in 19th century America. When her friend, Professor Jill Greenberg, gives her a gift of Jane Eyre which had once belonged to popular fiction author Mrs. Serena Northbury, her interest is redirected towards Mrs. Northbury's appealing work. Karen tracks down the seller, Dr. Edith Hart, and is delighted to find that the family home contains other books . . . and even personal papers that belonged to Mrs. Northbury. With Dr.Read more ›
This was a very quick moving novel. I liked the characters, for the most part, they were real people, not dry academics, like many of this genre. Karen is not your typical English professor. The author is very good at intertwining the various plots. Very good mystery.
To make tenure even more tenuous, Karen is fascinated by the works of nineteenth century writer Serena Northbury, who all her colleagues agree wrote trash. She plans to write a biography on the woman in spite of the objections of the people in her department. During her research, Karen finds an unpublished manuscript in the possession of a descendent of Northbury. However, instead of academia triumph, a murder occurs. Karen realizes that she has more to worry about than just the potential demise of her career as someone wants her out of the way too.
The second Professor Pelletier academic mystery is a brilliant entry that will elate the audience. The characters are sharp and in many ways a satirical look at the ole boys network. The who-done-it is interesting and puzzling enough to charm readers. However, what really makes THE NORTHBURY PAPERS grade out as an A+ is Karen's relationships with various and sundry, including the long-deceased author she is studying. Anyone who enjoys a fun mystery, but especially with a college backdrop, should read Joanne Dobson' latest novel and its predecessor, QUIETER THAN SLEEP, because the author has a 4.0 index while majoring in entertaining, well-written literature.
Most recent customer reviews
The Northbury Papers is a good old fashioned mystery. It will not cause your heart to beat faster, but is quite a nice read. Read morePublished on Jan. 20 2000 by EZimme6229@aol.com
Read it through in one sitting--very diverting with interesting characters and you even feel as if you're learning about American literature and academia along the way. Read morePublished on Aug. 30 1999