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The Raven and the Nightingale (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #3)
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The Raven and the Nightingale (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #3)

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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  251 ratings  ·  27 reviews
An unexpected bequest sends waves of violence through the placid groves of academe in Joanne Dobson's third mystery to feature Professor Karen Pelletier.

Still untenured, and therefore on shaky academic ground, feisty young Enfield College professor Pelletier finds herself going head-to-head with the resident Edgar Allan Poe expert, Elliot Corbin, an academic windbag of mon...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by Bantam (first published October 19th 1999)
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Stuart
The third of Joanne Dobson’s Karen Pelletier novels, and the best I’ve read so far. All the same ingredients are present – the missing manuscript, the obnoxious tenured professor, Detective Piotrowski, Karen’s daughter, and assorted collected waifs – and it’s nice to see them all again. Of course we encounter the academic politics involving tenure, women’s studies, plagiarism and endowments.
I found this particular missing manuscript (a diary by a 19th century woman poet said to have committed su...more
Peggy Huey
I was drawn to this book because its heroine is an English Professor at a small, New England college. I am ready now to look for more of the books in this series! Karen Pelletier is a fascinating character who uses her research skills to help the police solve the murder of a colleague, who made his name working on a monograph about Edgar Allen Poe. The premise here is that Poe actually stole the idea for one of his most famous poems, "The Raven", from an obscure 19th century poet Emmeline Foster...more
Michael
I picked up this book because of the literary references in the title, but within the book they are few and far between. While I'm comfortable with a murder mystery set in academia, the book contained too much of the boring and tedious details of academic life. The subjects of tenure, plagiarism, endowments, and department politics were given more importance than logic, intelligence, and solving a murder.
My biggest pet peeve is that a book written BY an English professor, ABOUT an English prof...more
Kate
This book kind of rubbed me the wrong way. It didn't help that it started off with a student accusing Poe of "getting off" on dead women, and Karen doesn't correct him. Couldn't Dobson sense that that might be a turn off for die-hard Poe fans -- who (one would presume) would be a sizable chunk of her readers? Yes, Poe was obsessed with death, but not because it aroused him. It frightened him, and it especially frightened him to see his beloved wife waste away from that terrible disease, and ther...more
Ms Athos
Dr. Karen Pelletier's literary focus is 19th century American writers, so she's psyched when she receives a huge box of papers, journals, and unpublished works from Emmeline Foster, a contemporary of Poe's (and rumored to be a distraught lover of his as well). Someone else on the Enfield faculty is also interested in the box, enough to steal and then to kill. Although the whole Poe thing is fiction, Dobson does a great job illustrating via a modern mystery the pitfalls facing female authors a me...more
Jordan
This is actually more like a 2.75 rating for me. It was okay. I liked the idea, the writing was good, I liked the character, but it kind of lacked... everything. Not enough was happening, they were building up to a romance that never happened, and I was bored for about half of it. It was alright, not the worst thing I have ever read, but not the best.
Robin
I love this character! Karen Pelletier is an associate professor of English at Enfield College, a top tier school, who keeps getting drawn into murder investigations that require her literary expertise. The mysteries and the character are down-to-earth, but Dobson is able to switch into complicated literary-criticism speak at the drop of a hat where required and fully realizes the academic interactions in a small college. She authentically speaks in the voice of an early-eighteenth-century poete...more
Mary-Beth
As I was reading this literary mystery I kept thinking that the setting had to have been envisioned by an embittered professor, bored with academia. The professors and students in the story are not so much characters as caricatures.

That said I did get drawn into the mystery as I kept reading, but the murderer and the motive seemed half-baked and the main character had that, 'I am after every male creature in the series,' issue that I have noticed many mystery heroes seem to have. I suppose given...more
Rachael
This book was interesting.... Because I am an English major I appreciated this book more than most people would. However, the story line lacked movement. It was slow and clogged with literary talk that to the average reading is boring. I found it interesting because I do like Poe. The diary entries were interesting and well written but the lack of movement in the story made it hard to read. There was mystery but not the sense of urgency that you get from other books. This book had good potential...more
Suzanne
It gets an additional star for being an academic novel. I thoroughly enjoyed the academic setting and characters, nd am looking forward to reading the entire series. However, I find it somewhat annoying that a scholar who devotes her life to analyzing literary works for their hidden meanings is so utterly clueless (pun intended) when it comes to what's going on around her in real life! The non-academic characters, unfortunately, come across as fairly stereotypical. I'm hoping the author's abilit...more
Vicki
This is the fourth and possibly my favorite in the series featuring Karen Pelletier, English professor at fictional Enfield College. (I haven't read the fifth and last book in the series since the library lost it and I haven't ordered it yet.) This book is quite well plotted, although I still figured out "who did it" before the end of the book. But it's quite an imaginative story regarding a well known Poe and a fictionalized NYC literary lady.
Nikki
Once again English professor Karen Pelletier uses her literary scholarship to solve a murder. I like how Ms. Dobson mixes a long-ago literary mystery with a present-day homicide in each of her books. As well, she has an unerring ear for academic jargon that is quite entertaining. Her characters are engaging and the setting (a college that shares some of the characteristics of both Smith and Amherst) is well-drawn. Highly recommended.
Janet
This is the first one of the Karen Pelletier mysteries I have read, but I plan to read them all. Pelletier is a literature professor in a New England college. She receives a box of papers that belonged to a 19th century poet, Emmeline Foster, who supposedly drowned herself for the love of Edgar Allan Poe. But perhaps it was something much darker, involving this much acclaimed writer of dark tales and poems.
Donna
I've definitely become a fan of Joanne Dobson's academic mysteries. The third in her series, this one mixes Edgar Allen Poe's 19th century advertures and works with those of 20th century faculty and students. Yes, her plots are a bit formulaic, but isn't that what all good mysteries do? She's a delight to read. Karen Pellitier is as likeable as Kinsey Millhouse. Recommended to all mystery buffs.
Trine
Another great addition to the academic Karen Pelletier mystery series with yet another intriguing literary mystery that is likely to appeal to fellow academics as well as anyone interested in not only women's poetry, but also the literary endeavours – especially the haunting poem, The Raven - of the much-debated and still to this day controversial author and poet, Edgar Allan Poe.
Scott K


I admit to not being one with great insight to critique of the arts but simply am an avid fan of mysteries. With that said I enjoy Dobson's series but it is slower then most other series I read and the focus on literature and more so poetry leaves a bit mor bore as it is a topic I know nothing of.


But I like the primary reoccurring characters enough to keep reading the series
Elisha (lishie)
Jul 30, 2008 Elisha (lishie) rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery, literature lovers, Poe enthusiasts
Entertaining- the 3rd in Dobson's series of murder mysteries involving Professor Karen Pelletier , professor at a small, distinguished, New England, fictional college- Enfield. Some of the characters are cliche and the mystery a bit simple but there's plenty of literary quotes & information to keep a reader happy. And this one centers around Edgar Allen Poe.
Annie
Smart, engaging, literary, with a clever plot. I enjoyed getting all the references and the protagonist is believable, real, and fallible. The humor sneaks in on you and hides among the witty dialogue, waiting for another moment to strike. Don't miss a word. Don't miss a clue. Don't miss this series!
Mary
Another enjoyable entry in the Karen Pelletier mysteries though I did think this novel suffered more than the previous entries for having a literary mystery that was more interesting than the murder. That aside it was a cozy read on a winter weekend.
Julie
It tends to annoy me when the author makes a very insignificant character be the one who committed the murder. Of course, you can't figure it out that way. That's how this book made me feel. Still, it was a good enough story so it gets two stars.
Barbara
I really like the setting in this series, a small, elite college campus, the fact that the main character is an English prof and all of the literary references.
jeffrey jorgensen
Mar 28, 2007 jeffrey jorgensen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thriller junkies
Shelves: benched
i love the works of Poe, he was amazing, kinda depressing but still amazing. The Raven, Mask of the Red Death, Pit and the Pendulum. amazing stories.
Ann-Marie
Great book in a series about a College Professor who solves crimes on a small New England campus. Campy, fun & a literate read!
Grey853
Another excellent addition to the series. I really enjoy the main character and the mystery is well done.
Amanda
Another enjoyable Karen Pelletier mystery. Interesting links to Edgar Allen Poe writings.
Rainey
A mediocre love story masquerading as a mystery. An excellent milieu left out in the cold.
Andrea
Andrea marked it as to-read
Sep 13, 2014
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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...
Quieter than Sleep (A Karen Pelletier Mystery, #1) The Northbury Papers (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #2) Cold and Pure and Very Dead (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #4) The Maltese Manuscript (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #5) Death Without Tenure (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #6)

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