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The Maltese Manuscript (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #5)

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  216 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
In classic noir tradition, English professor Karen Pelletier gains a client when her office door opens and a famous crime novelist enters. The author is dogged by Trouble, a Rottweiler, and by a problem. And since the tough-gal celebrity writer, Sunnye Hardcastle, is keynote speaker at the upcoming Enfield College Women's Studies conference on Crime Fiction, Karen is hooke ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 2003)
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Joanne Dobson’s 5th Karen Pelletier mystery, and the fourth one I have read, it was my least favorite. I found it slow to get into, and the ending was a shoot-out where the culprit reveals himself rather than being detected. It’s possible that I have now read too many of the Pelletier novels in a row, of course, because somehow the same combination of characters and manuscripts that was so appealing in the previous books didn’t seem to click as well in this one.
The story once again takes place
Kaye McSpadden
Jun 16, 2010 Kaye McSpadden rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2013 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I've missed Karen Pelletier and Enfield College!! I think it's been about five years since I read the last one in the series. I love the prestigious New England campus, the typically wintery weather, English Professor Karen's quirky colleagues and students, her cozy little farm house on the outskirts of town, and her friendly relationship with cop Charlie Piotrowski. The books are smart and witty, and never fail to make me chuckle!

In The Maltese Manuscript, mystery series author Sunnye Hardcastl
Sep 10, 2012 Kestrell rated it liked it
The female crime fiction writer somewhat boggled at the literary jargon she experiences at a women studies mystery fiction conference is a great character, but Dobson's fellow female academics are all stereotypes, and negative ones at that: the protagonist is portrayed as somehow being more dedicated and more realistic because of her poor background, but she never really has a serious literary or political discussion with any of the other female characters. This series is often positively compar ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 09, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Close to a classic, this book hits all my buttons: a fast-paced well-told mystery about a classic mystery (a hand-corrected manuscript--of Hammett's Maltese Falcon, of course), and about people who love to read, collect--and steal!--books for their own sake.

What's not to like?
The background to this story includes some very interesting historical tidbits about the early writers of murder mysteries and other crime fiction including female writers from this genre who wrote in the middle of the 1800's. Fascinating!!
Apr 07, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-mystery
Joanne Dobson appears to have hit her stride as a mystery novelist with this book. I thought it was the best so far in her series. An interesting plot, with twists and turns. Insteresting characters --as always. And some lively "fun" poked at academia, especially with regard to the convoluted, inflated, self-important academic speak often used by the professorial crowd. It made me laugh out loud, probably because I work with academic books and sooo recognized the truth of Dobson's humor. What ca ...more
Jul 26, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Dr. Pelletier inadvertently becomes partners with mystery writer Sunnye Hardcastle to clear the author as a murder suspect. Plenty of suspense ensues, but the best part is Karen's sharp, humorous inner dialogue. I wish this series had more books!
Carolyn Rose
Jul 26, 2016 Carolyn Rose rated it liked it
I picked this book up because of the title and perhaps that's why I expected more of it than I came away feeling I got.
Sep 02, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok
It almost hurts me to write this review, but this was my least favorite of Joanne Dobson's novels that I have read to date. The beginning was slow and the ending a little flat. The middle had such build of anticipation and so many avenues of possibility, but in the end I feel the weakest route was taken. I certainly do not wish to deter readers from picking up this book. It had all the comfort a series should have in returning to familiar characters, as if you were reuniting with old friends. Do ...more
Andy Plonka
Mar 17, 2015 Andy Plonka rated it liked it
Shelves: src
Competently written cozy in which rare books are stolen from University libraries.
Aug 13, 2007 Vicki rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
The library found it! It had been misfiled or something. In any case, it's a nice ending to the series in some sense, but I think it's the most weakly plotted from a mystery standpoint. There's a lot of alusion to the classics of the mystery genre, but it seems less literary than the rest of the series. The plot doesn't turn on an intricate but heretofore unknown portion of an author's writing or life that is crucial to some professor's research. The critique of academic speak is particularly cu ...more
Robert Palmer
Sep 25, 2012 Robert Palmer rated it really liked it
This is not a sequel to The Dashiell Hammett novel as I thought when checking it out at my library,it is rather about the thrift of the manuscript of the Maltese Falcon with handwritten notes included.
Of course their has to be a murder otherwise it wouldn't be a mystery and this is good one. If you have ever worked in a library or a book store this book might be right up your alley. It even has The Body in the Library---think Agatha Christie and other references to famous mystery stories.
Nov 21, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it
It's a perfect fun read for English professors: about rare books and the protagonist is an English professor. This one includes all kinds of references to old mystery books as well as some fun pokes at lit-crit discourse. I'd guess she's read much more in the crime/mystery genres since her first book since this one contains somewhat subtler plotting and better red herring placement as well as a plot that revolves around crime fiction.
Jul 31, 2010 Grey853 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Someone is stealing books from the special collections section of the university library. Then there's a possible murder.

Karen gets put right in the middle of it all.

I enjoyed the characters and the overall plot.
May 26, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, homage
Some of the plot twists were obvious from quite a distance and the author doesn't always work her lengthy expositions in very well, but an interesting voice and style.
Dec 30, 2008 Marilou rated it really liked it
Shelves: tea-cozy-mystery
"Fun" mystery set on a university campus; department chairs, university presidents, typical faculty, odd librarians, shady p.i.'s and a coupla good cops...
Jan 23, 2012 Gwen rated it liked it
English professor helps her cop boyfriend discover who is stealing books from the library. i like the characters.
Elisha (lishie)
Dec 15, 2008 Elisha (lishie) rated it liked it
Besides the mystery, I liked the personal aspect of Professor Karen Pelletier's life in this 5th installment.
Leslie Angel
Mar 26, 2010 Leslie Angel rated it liked it
Nice mystery, good characters, an all-around nice, readable series. Academic setting.
Arlene Richards
Mar 05, 2009 Arlene Richards rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Joanne Dobson is a consistent writer of entertaining mystery novels.
Jun 06, 2008 Cece rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Not my favorite-Sunnye is annoying in the extreme.
Jul 07, 2013 Julie rated it liked it
Another good edition to this series.
Robert S.
Robert S. rated it it was amazing
Aug 05, 2016
Miriam rated it liked it
Aug 05, 2016
Angelo rated it really liked it
Jul 31, 2016
Doreen added it
Jul 08, 2016
Carol marked it as to-read
Jun 19, 2016
Raymond rated it liked it
Jul 20, 2016
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At midlife, after two decades as an English professor and literary scholar, Joanne Dobson surprised herself (and her colleagues) by writing a mystery novel set at a small, elite, New England college where the curriculum seemed to offer a major in murder. Joanne was even more surprised when QUIETER THAN SLEEP (1997) was published by Doubleday. QUIETER was the first of the six Professor Karen Pellet ...more
More about Joanne Dobson...

Other Books in the Series

A Karen Pelletier Mystery (6 books)
  • Quieter than Sleep (A Karen Pelletier Mystery, #1)
  • The Northbury Papers (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #2)
  • The Raven and the Nightingale (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #3)
  • Cold and Pure and Very Dead (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #4)
  • Death Without Tenure (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #6)

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