Quieter than Sleep (A Karen Pelletier Mystery, #1)
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Quieter than Sleep (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #1)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  299 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Karen Pelletier abandoned her life in New York for a professorship at Massachusetts's elite Enfield College. But she quickly learns that New England is not the peaceful enclave she had imagined--and that not even the privileged world of academia is immune to murder....

Professor Karen Pelletier's prime literary passion is poet Emily Dickinson--a passion she shares with her...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published August 3rd 1998 by Bantam (first published 1997)
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English professor Karen Pelletier becomes involved in a murder investigation when a colleague (whose unwelcome attentions she had very recently been desperate to avoid) is murdered at a college party. She has the unpleasant experience of finding the body, not to mention being considered a suspect. When the first murder is followed by another only a few days later, it is impossible to avoid the realization that someone in Karen's circle of acquaintances is a murderer. If the murder is related to...more
I enjoyed this mystery, though the ending featured one of my bugbears, the unnecessary shoot-out. This is the first in a series of books featuring Doctor Karen Pelletier, an English Literature professor specializing in 18th century writers, in particular Emily Dickinson, at a fictional New England university called Enfield. She has an interesting back story, having been brought up in the working class, married straight out of high school, and only come to academia later in life. She now seems to...more
Mary Newcomb
Karen Pelletier is a great character, newly arrived English faculty at Enfield College with a penchant for solving mysteries. She uses her academic skills in fine fashion to understand who killed both the hated colleague and annoying undergraduate.

This book was fun--I enjoyed Dr. Karen Pelletier and the mystery. Only thing is, if I'd known that one could meet so many hot guys by going into academe, I'd have made a different career choice. Funny, I never noticed them all as a student....
A well thought out academic mystery by a true scholar herself. Dobson uses her wealth of knowledge of Dickinson and her obvious close study of mystery novels to create an enjoyable addition to the odd little genre of academic mysteries.
Ashley M.
This was an easy read and I enjoyed it. However, it was somewhat easy to figure out halfway through reading it. A definite read for those who need something easy and quick.
Can you call something a subgenre if you can only think of two exemplars, so far?* I feel like there may be more I am not calling to mind. Anyway, this is the first entry in a series about a Professor of English, Karen Pelletier, who has just been hired at a small fictional private liberal arts college near Boston. Dobson began the series in the 1990s, and I first read the books when I myself was in grad school, so the setting resonated anyway, in an immediate sense. The murder victim in this bo...more
The beginning really grabbed me—quick, witty (the Palaver Chair), well paced—and I thought, “Another good one.” Then I started to feel annoyed at some of the author’s style and felt that Professor Dobson was lecturing me, the reader. I was also jarred out of the story by the mix of real and imagined locations when the plot took Karen to Cambridge for Research. Agreed, Enfield College and the town were fictional, and we can draw our own mind maps and images; however, Dr. Pelletier traveled specif...more
This was a really good combined literary/academic murder mystery (not as literarily serious as Possession but similar to Jennifer Carrell's Shakespeare ones. The ones I've read before usually start with a manuscript mystery that leads to murders, but this flipped that order. Since the author is an English professor and nineteenth-century scholar, the details about the literary puzzle are more plausible than the ones related to how the murder(s) were actually accomplished; so it's good if you pre...more
This is a cute cozy mystery, and I'm a sucker for literary mysteries, so of course I had to pick it up. One thing that I do have to point out is the fact that reading this made me think of a 90's TV show. The description of the clothing really brought that to mind. I like the perspective that the main character adds to the story, because she's like an outsider looking in. She works on an Ivy League school campus, but she comes from a scholarship background and she brings that toughness with her...more
Amy Jo Cousins
I wrote what I must say was a very charming fan letter to the author after first reading this book and received a lovely post card from her in return. :) An academic murder mystery, this series is clearly written by someone familiar with the MHC/Amherst/Williams, western Massachusetts, small, private liberal arts college world. It was like revisiting my college years, with a fun and literary murder mystery thrown in. The perfect mystery series for an English or American lit major, where two of t...more
Karen Pelletier, an English professor at Enfield College in Massachusetts, opens a closet door at a faculty cocktail party and discovers the corpse of Randy Astin-Berger, a fellow professor. A few days later one of Karen’s students, Bonnie Weimer, is also found dead. At the party, Randy had been trying to tell Karen something about a “master letter” but Karen hadn’t been paying attention, and later can’t remember quite what he said. Police think that Randy was killed over something he was resear...more
This is a delightful, sexy mystery set in a small fictional college in Massachusetts. Narrated by Doctor Karen Pelletier, a single mother from a blue-collar family, now assistant professior of 19th century literature, this novel has a satisfyingly complex plot, interesting characters, and some pocket facts about both Emily Diokinson and the 19th century theologian Henry Ward Beecher (of course mixed in with a little fiction). Murders, romance,and good literature mixed in together. What more can...more
Marcia Schmit
Excellent. Great story and told with humor...something I always enjoy and look for. I also enjoy learning a little as I read fiction.
A very good mystery set in a New England liberal arts college, with all the usual academic back-stabbing but many likable characters. English professor Karen Pelletier, a single mother who has struggled her way to a Ph.D. and a life as a scholar and teacher, is finishing her first semester of teaching at prestigious Enfield College when one of her more annoying colleagues falls out of a closet on her, dead by strangulation. There are many people who might have wanted to kill him. Literary sleuth...more
I love this series, and it was time for a revisit, as Joanne Dobson is coming out with a new book sometime this year (yay!)

Karen Pellitar has come the end of her first semester at Enfield College, and is trying to make it through the holiday faculty party when a colleague falls into her arms out of closet, dead. As an untenured professor, she is in a precarious position when one of her students also ends up dead, and another attempts suicide and will only speak with Karen. As all of these people...more
Quite entertaining. They mystery wasn't spellbinding or anything--if you can't figure out who and why by about midbook, you need to read more Nancy Drew--but the protagonist is adequately realistic in her imperfections and a quick learner, even though I wanted to smack her head a couple of times. I don't usually enjoy novels set in modern times, but was pulled in by the Emily Dickinson connection. That part was a tad too predictable as well. However, I liked the entire story enough to want to re...more
This is the first in a series of 5 books about Karen Pelletier, an English professor at a fictional liberal arts college that sounds like it could be Williams, in western Mass. She grew up in Lowell, however, and has a bit of an inferiority complex about teaching privileged college kids. This mystery revolves around the work of Emily Dickinson, which indirectly caused the strangulation of the hotshot professor in the English department. There's a bit of romantic interest with the college preside...more
This is the first book in what was, for me, a most satisfying series. The main character (Karen Pelletier) is a professor of literature at a small New England college, and the plots have links into the world of literature. Pelletier is a well-defined character, and the stories allow us to see all dimensions of her - professor, scholar, woman, mother, friend. Her relationship with Lieutenant Piotrowski is well-crafted and the recurring secondary characters add to the richness of the stories.

This is the first in a mystery series, and is an old-fashioned "who done it". It was not quite as good as I had hoped, but well enough written that I will try the series again. The main character is a Professor of Literature of the 19th Century, not yet tenured, working at a small elite University in the NE. When a fellow 19th Century specialist is killed at a party, she becomes first a suspect, then a "research assistant", to the police. Some scary moments, as she also becomes a possible victim...more
This book made for a great plane read. The characters.and their human foibles were charming and, honestly, more fun than the mystery itself, which was easy to solve well before the end of the book. The academic setting is hilarious, especially if you know a thing or two about academia and like to laugh at a good sendup. I would pick up another Karen Pelletier book because the heroine is so likable. Great light reading material.
Sheila Beaumont
A really fun academic mystery, with an intriguing story involving research into the life of Emily Dickinson, excellent, detailed characterization, and fine writing with a light, humorous touch. The first in Ms. Dobson's Karen Pelletier series.
This was the first in her series and a great way to start reading her mystery fiction. If you have studied English seriously and aren't daunted by a mystery that's constantly invoking Foucault and literary theory, these are great page turners!
The first Karen Pelletier mystery. I just love this character and look forward to more. Being about Emily Dickinson, one of my all time favorites was a bonus, but is there really a 4th Master letter connecting her to Rev. Beecher?
A slow start. Too many characters. But I finally settled into this book and rather enjoyed it despite the fact I actually figured out "who dun it" early on in the book. I guess I'll give book two of the series a chance.
The first in the series. Great fun especially for anyone who has taught in small private colleges or even larger universities. She understands the department politics and describes them in a humorous way!
Great academic mystery read that is likely to appeal not only to fellow academics, but also to anyone interested in an intriguing literary mystery and the poetry of Emily Dickinson.
Feb 01, 2012 Sam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
Set at a NE University, this murder mystery is well written and not easily figured out. Don't need to be a Dickinson fan, I really enjoyed the book and characters.
I love to read about academia in the mystery genre when it has a strong, female protagonist. Karen Pelletier is the English professor I wished that I was!
A few 50-cent words thrown into tiresome dialogue, flagrantly obvious red-herrings, along with a very transparent conclusion made this a disappointing read.
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Like Karen Pelletier, Joanne Dobson is an English professor, having taught for many years at Fordham University, also at Amherst College and at Tufts University. Unlike Karen, she has never been faced with an on-campus homicide, nor has she ever been called in as a consultant to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. But she has occasionally asked herself, "what if . . . ?"
More about Joanne Dobson...
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) The Maltese Manuscript (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #5) Death Without Tenure (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #6)

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