cornerofmadness (cornerofmadness) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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Book 59

Murder At Markham (Sheila Travis Mystery #1)Murder At Markham by Patricia Sprinkle

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I started reading this and wondering about some of the political incorrectness and when it was written (i.e. not as new as the reprint led me to believe) and the no women at West Point clinched it. It was written in the 80’s and reminded me of Murder, She Wrote not just because it was a woman who helped the police but because there was a desperate lack of understanding police procedure (Jessica Fletcher knew more). I almost stopped reading when the cop, Detective Flanagan, said there was no need for time of death (or was it our heroine, Sheila Travis) I about stopped but I was half way in so…

Sheila was a diplomat’s wife and Tyler has passed so she’s returned to the States after years in Japan. She’s now the personal assistant to the president of Markham, a university that trains future diplomats. I couldn’t tell if she had some other personal connection but she acts like this was her home forever. She’s been there a week and is defending the students and the school like she’s been a matron there for years.

Sheila was there when Melanie is found wrapped in a rug in the basement of the school. She, along with her very wealthy older aunt, start sleuthing, especially when Flanagan fixates on a student, Quint, very early on. Too early on really since at the time he had an alibi and Flanagan never considered anyone else for pretty much all the novel.

Sheila blow hot and cold the whole novel about everything, her feminism, her feelings about Markham, the students, Flanagan you name it. This woman was all over the place. She and her aunt bend and break rules all over the place and when Sheila is attacked, does she report it? Nope, ‘what could the cops do?’ I’m sorry if I’m investigating a crime and someone tries to strangle me, everyone would know.

Naturally Sheila always knows more than the detective (and far more than he does because he’s not really doing his job) and we have to have the get all the suspects together and go thru them all until we get to the villain. There are so many characters and most of them (including the protagonist) are poorly drawn. Sheila’s aunt and the piano-playing Peter are about the only ones with personality. This went on to be a series in the late 80’s early 90’s but I probably won’t be looking for more.

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Tags: mystery

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