Cover image for Murder is academic : a Cambridge mystery
Murder is academic : a Cambridge mystery
Poulson, Christine.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books, 2004.

Physical Description:
240 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



All is not well at Cambridge University's St. Ethelreda's College. The head of the English Department is dead, and Professor Cassandra James is appointed the task of running the department. Faced with the choice of whipping her underperforming colleagues into shape or losing the much-needed funding for the program, Cassandra resigns herself to the challenge. However, when she stumbles upon the former head's private papers and realizes that the death was no accident, Cassandra is forced to use her academic expertise of solving obscure literary puzzles for a very different purpose: tracking down a killer.

British Praise for Murder is Academic :

"Cambridge academic Christine Poulson's first crime novel is a triumph of suspense and intrigue. A labyrinthine plot is unravelled as intriguingly as a literary puzzle."
- Bodies in the Bookshop Magazine

"An intriguing read...Poulson certainly keeps the reader guessing...There is a lot to enjoy in this romp through the Cambridge commons. This is Poulson's first novel, and she creates a strong sense of place with a narrative style that is both energetic and engaging."
- Sherlock Magazine

"A fascinating mystery..The sense of place was very strong...This is [Poulson's] debut book, and I just hope that the next one is not too long coming."
- Mystery Women

Author Notes

Christine Poulson was born and brought up in North Yorkshire, England. She is now a research fellow at the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies at Sheffield University and chair of the William Morris Society. She has written widely on 19th-century art and literature, and her most recent work of non-fiction was a book on Arthurian legend in British art from 1840 to 1920. She lives with her family in a water mill in Derbyshire, England.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

While this debut novel may not garner top honors, British author Poulson gets better than a passing grade for originality and for her likable book-loving professor/administrator/sleuth, Cassandra James. When her friend and colleague Margaret Joplin dies of an apparent poolside accident, James becomes the acting head of the English department of Cambridge's (fictional) St. Etheldreda's College, as well as the deceased's literary executor. An inspection of Joplin's private papers soon leads James to suspect that foul play was involved in her death. Though the students never become more than a rather formless aggregate, the faculty members and administrators are limned with a clarity that reveals their foibles, petty weaknesses and hidden strengths. Plenty of secrets reside behind the storied college walls of St. Etheldreda's, and Cassandra's safety and the future of her department depend on her deciphering which are lethal and which innocent. Poulson adroitly shifts the focus of suspicion among several suspects and builds suspense to a high pitch before delivering a most satisfying conclusion. Agent, Bob Tanner at International Scripts (U.K.). (May 7) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved