Though it's billed as her Doubleday Crime Club debut, this is P.M. Carlson's seventh mystery starring Maggie Ryan, a feminist sleuth who launched her career by solving a murder on her college campus. In her latest adventure, Maggie, now married with children, takes a consulting job at her alma mater and comes across a homicide on her first day there. She solves it, of course, after following some titillating false leads and exposing a child molester, a gambling addict, and a blackmailer in the process.
Murder Misread is a tasty blend of irreverence (Carlson enjoys jokes at the expense of academics) and sincerity (her portrayal of the murder victim's wife is touching). Maggie is an engaging everywoman wife, mother, professional who conducts her crime-busting with quiet panache, assisted by her actor husband, whose histrionics help him draw information out of unwitting informants. Though her life does change a little in each of Carlson's books, you don't have to be familiar with Maggie's previous escapades to enjoy this entertaining new installment. B