Occupation: Korean War Veteran, Vietnam War Veteran, literature professor, author, poet and philosopher.
And no . . . this has nothing to do with the plot of the book. I’m talking about the author of Murder In Disguise, a “cozy mystery” which will take you by the hand, double your heart rate, and tug at your heartstrings simultaneously.
This is the first novel I’ve read by Donn Taylor, and I have to admit that it took several attempts to “get into” the book. But that’s all on me; mysteries have never been a favorite genre of mine. I didn’t even remember signing up for reviewing this book (my apologies to the author, please don’t take it personally!).
But I certainly do not regret having done so. Not only has Donn Taylor opened my eyes to the genre, he’s also opened my eyes to a new way of thinking, and of living. The breadth and depth and grasp of truth, and beauty, and language displayed on the canvas of this book graphically illustrate what it is to be a Renaissance man.
But this is supposed to be a book review.
Professor Preston Barclay undertakes the teaching of two courses at a state university in the midwest as a visiting professor for the summer term. It provides for several pressing issues in his life. The need for income, obviously. The desire to make an impact on the minds of the succeeding generation.
Oh, and then there’s the little issue of his friend and colleague committing suicide that he has questions about. And when the widow beseeches him to “prove” that the suicide was anything but . . . his musical hallucinations simply increase volume and tempo.
The state university proves to be more of a minefield than an institution for higher education, and try as he might to avoid scandal, controversy and violence, all three seem to be mandatory courses in his rather busy “class schedule.”
And then there are the “electives,” which include a hijacking, money laundering, Christian rights in the marketplace, and human trafficking.
And you thought you had a full day!
As Professor Barclay investigates without investigating, his momentum – and its impact – become increasingly similar to the proverbial bull in a china shop.
And then . . . the walls came tumbling down.
There is so much to say about this book; the puns, the musical references, the lectures, all woven together in a beautiful tapestry that will hold your attention to the final crescendo.
This is a book that needs to be experienced, as well as read.
5 stars for a cozy mystery that causes you to rethink your commitments.
MURDER IN DISGUISE