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Cold and Pure and Very Dead (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #4)
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Cold and Pure and Very Dead (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #4)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  230 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The Agatha Award-Nominated Author of Quieter Than Sleep

Professor Karen Pelletier has made a name for herself as one of the leading scholars of literature at exclusive Enfield College. But when an offhand comment sets off a firestorm of controversy, she finds herself embroiled in a scandal that began with a notorious novel from the 1950s — and ends with a very real murder..
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 2nd 2001 by Bantam (first published 2000)
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The fourth Karen Pelletier mystery by Joanne Dobson, though the fifth one I have read, I liked this one a lot. In addition to having the author’s signature literary-associated murder(s), we have sidebars where she recreates a fictional work for our enjoyment. (I’m guessing it gives the author some enjoyment to dabble in an alternative style too).
Aside from being a murder mystery, the book, right up front in its title, asks us the question “what is literary anyway?” The full quote from Sinclair
Karen Pelletier is a college professor taking the year off to do research of her own and further her career. During a boring newspaper interview, she throws out an answer to the question of what literary work she considers to be the greatest Twentieth Century English novel. The book she names, "Oblivion Falls" is reminiscent of the well known "Peyton Place" and readers will recognize much of the same attitude toward small town sex scandals within it. When the reporter decides to investigate the ...more
An Odd1
*** "Cold and pure and very dead" by Joanne Dobson, is the 4th mystery by an E. NY lit prof about the same. The Agatha Christie tradition puts character and brain ahead of action and blood. University politics and middle-aged spinster indecisive romance are heavy, full of literary quotes, references and spoofed academic jargon. I can envision the author's real-life enemies skewered, much as young Mildred fictionalizes the tale of her best friend, seduced and murdered by a handsome visiting prof. ...more
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This is probably my favorite of the series, or possibly the next one, I can't decide. Karen Pelletier, English professor at fictional Enfield College, is giving an interview to NYTimes reporter. He asks her the aggravating question of what's your pick for best book of the 20th century? She facetiously names a book that could be compared to the real book "Peyton Place," which she finished reading earlier that week. This sets off a search for the author of the book, who had disappeared many years ...more
Jul 27, 2014 Susan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
The detective isn't in this one so much, but Karen definitely is becoming a better sleuth on her own. The mystery here allows her to come to grips with some personal demons, but it also sheds a light on fame and loss of personal privacy. I'm so glad I found this series!
Aug 08, 2011 Margaret added it
Shelves: 2005
I enjoyed this mystery. Liked the use of first person and liked reading excerpts of Oblivion Falls, a novel written by one of the characters. Although I guessed a lot of the ending, it was a good many-tiered story, a little different than the average cozy mystery.
Karen gives an interview and later the reporter ends up dead, killed by the 50's writer that Karen mentioned in the article. Or so it seems.

The book has several twists and turns, and like all the other books I've read by Dobson, it's well written.
Elisha (lishie)
Another fun mystery in the series. Professor Pelletier's back in the middle of trouble. This one has not one but two fictional Fiction writers, excerpts from a fake book (that are intriguing) and maybe some romance, hmmm.
This book gave me an eerie feeling, not because it was eerie, but because it brought back my years in academia, which I had left behind me a long time ago.
Leslie Angel
Very nice academic mystery, likeable characters and fairly realistic. This one's a little like Looking for Winifred (Cross) which is one of my favorites.
I love Joanne Dobson's Karen Pelletier mysteries. The academic setting is spot on. This was a great story, love the tie-ins with other books.
Have enjoyed the previous titles in this series and this one is every bit as good. will look forward to the next one.
Another good one in the series. I probably liked this even a little more since it was so centered in academia.
I enjoy this series, but the first one is still the strongest of the titles.
This fourth installment in the series seemed slow.
A lively, fun read for mystery lovers.
not bad. I might read her other books.
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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)
  • The Maltese Manuscript (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #5)
  • Death Without Tenure (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #6)
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) The Maltese Manuscript (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #5) Death Without Tenure (A Karen Pelletier Mystery #6)

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