Saturday, May 1

Murder at the B-School - Jeffrey Cruikshank

Wim Vermeer has slowly come to the realisation that he'll never achieve academic greatness, or even tenure. An assistant professor of finance at Harvard Business School, Wim's somewhat popular with his students but nothing special. So when the Dean asks him to investigate the mysterious death of a student, who coincidentally happens to be the son of a wealthy benefactor, Wim's hardly in a position to say no. It's a move that not only threatens his career, his reputation, his liberty and his life, but that unexpectedly brings him in contact with a woman who becomes significant - Captain Barbara Brouillard of Boston's police force.
This deceptively slim detective novel is well written and genuinely interesting. The investigation unfolds alongside a not-quite romance between two prickly, lonely people and both plot lines are compelling. I suspect I felt a particular affinity for Murder at the B-School, and certainly borrowed the book, because I visited Cambridge last year to see my brother, about to graduate (or commence, at Harvard bizarrely terms completion) from Harvard. thanks to a tour I was aware of the tension between the university and the town, which made some of the moments in the book that touch on that particularly pop.
There were a couple of moments that gave me pause, mostly revolving around insulin - the dead boy's father has diabetes and a nurse (either from an agency or his daughter) gives him his daily dose, even though there's no reason at all he couldn't be trained to do it himself. This is, clearly, an occupational trigger issue for me, and there's a reason this is introduced into the plot, but every reference to it jerked me out of the narrative. That aspect aside, I thoroughly enjoyed Murder at the B-School, and intend reading more of Cruikshank's work if I happen across it. - Alex

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