Perpetual Check by Conrad Haynes (pen name for Dana Haynes) is the second in a short academic mystery series featuring Professor Harry Bishop. Bishop is the hard-drinking, black sheep of the political science department at Portland's mythical John Jacob Astor College--a liberal arts school for Oregon's elite. Harry has a taste for scotch and as many naps as he can fit into the academic day. After someone killed the editor of the campus newspaper, nearly adding Harry to the list of victims, and the professor managed to help the police track down the culprit, he also earned a reputation as an amateur sleuth.
So, when Harry is made the reluctant faculty liaison to the Board of Trustees and the most ambitious and obnoxious member is murdered, it is natural for the Chair (and incidentally the number one suspect) to ask the professor to take a hand in clearing things up. Harry teams up with the arrogant young journalist who saved his life the first time around and between them, they dig up enough motives for Richard Llewelleyn's death to ascribe one to every board member. For it seems that the Board's most successful fund raiser was also a successful blackmailer on the side. But whose secret provides the greatest reason to get Llewelleyn out of the way? The dynamically nosy duo had better work quick to find out--or Harry may have another near-death experience.
Haynes writes a competent mystery that touches on some of the intricacies of academic life. Harry Bishop is perfect as the scapegrace absent-minded professor (with a sharp mind for detail when he wants to put it to use). Harry is a likable amateur detective and his relationships with various faculty members and Tucker Nelligan (the journalist) make for interesting interactions. The crime itself is a fairly interesting one. I'm not entirely sure that it is fairly clued, however. And some of the Board personalities came across as stock characters. An enjoyable enough series that I do want to finish if I can manage to find the last entry. ★★★
This fulfills the "Same Initial" category on the Silver Vintage Bingo card (Haynes is almost the same as Hankins--three more squares for full card!
Friday, November 20, 2015
Perpetual Check: Review
Posted by Bev Hankins at 11:05 PM
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Sounds like it might be a good run-of-the-mill mystery. Great review!
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