This third book in the Carl Burns series finds the thoughtful, humorous chair of the English department of a small Texas college caught up in politically correct changes on campus instituted by a new dean, and the murder of an offensive and politically incorrect professor in Burns’ department.
Instead of hiding behind his lectern, Burns pokes his nose into the mystery, sorts the clues, interviews witnesses and suspects and puts himself in harm’s way from both the murderer and the aggressive local police chief, Boss Napier.
Burns and Napier tangled before in an earlier campus mystery, but this time, Napier welcomes Burns’ input. The chief’s change of attitude may be an attempt to divert Burns away from librarian Elaine Tanner, allowing the chief time with her.
Bill Crider neatly details campus changes and the different generations found there, while introducing suspects who could have done away with the obnoxious teacher. He also peppers the story with a lot of humor from the oafish chief, to Burns’ colleagues who, now that the new dean has imposed a smoking ban, must hide in a dank, dirty boiler room to sneak a cigaret. There are also some laugh-out-loud moments when Burns tries to correct some appalling student essays.
A Dangerous Thing, which works just fine as a stand-alone, is an intriguing mystery and an enjoyable look back at campus life, told in a smooth, breezy style.
(This post originally appeared here on The Dark Time in 2015. For more posts on books by Bill Crider, check out Patti Abbott’s blog.)
Another one of his series I need to try - thanks Elgin!ReplyDelete
Sergio – I think you will like this series. It is a fun, fast read and Bill knows the setting from the inside.Delete
Bill Crider worked in an academic environment for years so he knew what was talking about when he wrote A DANGEROUS THING.ReplyDelete
a professor at a small Texas college. Bill modeled this one after himself for sure.ReplyDelete
Charles – Yes. And I I think he was having great fun with the setting. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
Great review, Elgin. I am reading the Dan Rhodes series, but I want to try the Carl Burns series and the PI series set in Galveston. So thanks for sharing this again.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Tracy – I enjoy Bill’s writing. Hope you like this series. Thanks for reading the post.Delete
I like Carl Burns because he seems to be the closest fictional persona of Bill himself. Is it a coincidence his initials are Bill's backwards? I think not.ReplyDelete
Evan – I don’t know Bill personally, but I would say some of the funny observations in the book were things he thought, but may never have said aloud. In this series he can let it rip. Thanks for dropping by.Delete