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The Memorial Hall Murder (Homer Kelly, #3)
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The Memorial Hall Murder (Homer Kelly #3)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  163 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
When Harvard's Memorial Hall is bombed, the shattering of its huge rose windows resounds throughout the campus; but when a corpulent and headless corpse is found amid the debris, and the big, beloved chorus leader, Hamilton Dow, cannot be located, more than the peace and quiet of an illustrious university is disturbed. Is the corpse that of the missing conductor?
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 26th 1981 by Penguin Books (first published 1978)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 10, 2016 Bruce added it
This light piece of detective fiction, a piece of froth really, indeed rather a spoof, was written nearly four decades ago by Jane Langton, a writer of juvenile fiction and a former graduate student at Radcliffe. It is an undemanding read, a book that can be finished in a couple of evenings, and it will appeal primarily to those with a fairly intimate knowledge and experience of Harvard. A man is murdered in Memorial Hall, of course, and someone with an existing detailed knowledge of the buildin ...more
Dec 02, 2011 Lynetta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
"Ebullience and good humor and a sort of picnic charm of abandon and play . . . a good mystery," Eudora Welty comments on the back of the edition I read. I agree completely. A cozy to read before bedtime, the illustrations are charming, and the buildings of and around Harvard are well described. Handel's Messiah plays a big part in the book and in the resolution.

As with almost books, there is a lot of luck...Homer Kelly, a lieutenant detective, just happens to be on campus to teach a literature
Jul 17, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it
#3 in the Homer Kelly series.

Homer Kelly series - An explosion rocks the foundations of Harvard University’s stately Memorial Hall. A corpulent body is found inside, decapitated by the blast. The dead man is Hamilton Dow, conductor of the school orchestra and one of the most beloved men on campus. The university’s president, James Cheever, couldn’t be more pleased. Dow had opposed every one of Cheever’s attempts to improve and enlarge Harvard, and this terrible accident means that Cheever’s path
Sep 15, 2007 Cindy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: mystery fans
Shelves: mysteries
A Homer Kelly book. Set in Harvard. I really like this one, maybe because I am a fan of Handel as well as a mystery lover. Many of her books have academic settings.
Feb 18, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
Very good writing. Enjoyed the good book. I love the illustrations in her books.
Katherine Rowland
Nov 09, 2015 Katherine Rowland rated it it was ok
The pros: engaging characterizations, switching points of view that actually helped the narrative, interesting mechanics, and plenty of intrigue. The cons: the book tried to think important thoughts and tell a good story, and the two goals didn't work in tandem. And--like other "literary" novels--it was just so verbose, as though many words make a book great or important or literate. Instead, it was just pretentious and tedious, thoughts percolated over and over until they're bitter.
Feb 02, 2015 Francis rated it liked it
I guess what I like about Jane Langton is she tells a good yarn and her illustrations/pen drawings are superb.

However, I often struggle with her dialogue and her characters which are both one dimensional and too Pollyannish for my liking. Sort of like a good natured murder mysteries series- yeah, kinda ..oxymoronish a pleasant kind of way.

Apr 02, 2012 Zarina rated it liked it
This book was written in 1978. If I'm not mistaken, this book was brought over from England when my younger brother did his A-levels. I noticed that the price tag at the book of the books is a Malaysian distributor. Not sure if I was the one who bought it.

The condition of the book is good but the outer margin is so small that the letters are near the edge. But I love how each chapter begins with a short musical phase(?). Plus, there are a few illustrations which are missing in modern books.

For a
Oct 17, 2015 Vicki rated it liked it
Second reading...because we vacationed in Boston. Although not the primary reason for going, it was fun to visit the sites mentioned in the story. Not much character development of Homer; would be better for new readers to start at the beginning of the series.
Irene B.
Jul 20, 2012 Irene B. rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Read this mystery many years ago. Then someone gave me a copy for Christmas--we were exchanging used books. I've been carrying it around in my bag for emergencies when I'm stuck somewhere, so it's taken me five months to finish. Homer does tend to wander in his thoughts, but I thought the characters were amusing and the novel a bit droll--about a music director who ends up trapped in the basement of an exploded building for an extended duration while his choir is rehearsing above him. Each chapt ...more
Mar 16, 2016 Terrie rated it really liked it
A good "who dun it" with a Columbo-like investigator. Keeps you guessing until the end, which is unusual for me. These were written in the late 70's, so are dated, but she writes well, so worth the read.
Sep 18, 2016 Christy rated it liked it
Cute and sometimes corny, sometimes clever. Each chap is headed by an excerpt from Handel's Messiah. Fun for someone interested in Harvard in the 70s or Messiah.
Gave up. It seems more a travelogue about Harvard than anything else. Yes, someone dies promptly after the book starts, but then it's boring.
Alton Motobu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gloria Mccracken
Jun 30, 2013 Gloria Mccracken rated it really liked it
I really like the continuing characters in this series, including the dry sense of humor of the protagonist. The only unsatisfying issue with this particular book is that one of the minor evil doers did not get an appropriate comeuppance, in my opinion.
Eugene Lee
All my Harvard choir (especially HRCM) friends - this is a really fun book to read - set in Mem Hall and the subject of the murder mystery is the conductor of the Collegium Musicum!
Aug 02, 2008 Jill rated it liked it
Recommends it for: academic mystery fans
It was OK - seemed a little dated, which I guess it is. I do like the detective, Homer Kelly, so I may try one of the more recent titles in the series.
Jun 07, 2008 Cece rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Not very mysterious, actually...she gives it all away. But Homer Kelly is a likable character and I always like academic skullduggery.
Krissy Lee
Krissy Lee marked it as to-read
Sep 14, 2016
Debbie rated it liked it
Sep 11, 2016
Phil marked it as to-read
Sep 06, 2016
John Gibbs
John Gibbs rated it really liked it
Sep 04, 2016
Celeste Hogan
Celeste Hogan rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2016
Venz marked it as to-read
Aug 28, 2016
Marcia  Haskell
Marcia Haskell rated it really liked it
Aug 12, 2016
Kayla Krantz
Kayla Krantz marked it as to-read
Jul 25, 2016
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Langton was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She studied astronomy at Wellesley College and the University of Michigan, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1944. She received an M.A. in art history from the University of Michigan in 1945, and another M.A. from Radcliffe College in 1948. She studied at the Boston Museum School from 1958 to 1959.

In 1961 Langton wrote and illustrated her first book for ch
More about Jane Langton...

Other Books in the Series

Homer Kelly (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • The Transcendental Murder (Homer Kelly, #1)
  • Dark Nantucket Noon (Homer Kelly, #2)
  • Natural Enemy (Homer Kelly, #4)
  • Emily Dickinson Is Dead (Homer Kelly, #5)
  • Good and Dead (Homer Kelly, #6)
  • Murder at the Gardner
  • The Dante Game (Homer Kelly, #8)
  • God in Concord (Homer Kelly, #9)
  • Divine Inspiration (Homer Kelly, #10)
  • The Shortest Day: Murder at the Revels (Homer Kelly, #11)

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