"I can just imagine the questions in history," Fox said. "Who was our first of it, maybe the second one's too hard. But you get the idea!"
"Yeah," Burns said. "I get the idea."
Hartley Gorman College, in Pecan City, Texas, is hardly a bastion of serious scholarship. The little Baptist school is more interested in shielding its students from the evil influence of The World, The Flesh, and The Devil than in turning out future Nobelists. But its staff, by and large, is worthy of a more demanding institution; they are victims of a glutted market in PhD's and they do the best they can. So it is they who are most upset at Dean Elmore's 'secret plan' to award credit hours for 'undirected study' by 'independent scholars' - in plain words, to turn the school into a diploma mill.
Which may be why Dean Elmore, shortly after unveiling his plan, is found bludgeoned to death at his desk. It is certainly why, at his funeral, there is not a wet eye in the house.
Or so observes Carl Burns, Hartley Gorman professor of English literature, through whose eyes we see both the crime and the larger picture of this wacky denominational Texas school.
Those listeners familiar with Bill Crider's books about Sheriff Dan Rhodes of Blacklin County, Texas, knows how wryly witty this author can be; here the humor is revved up a few notches, and the resulting account of Elmore's murder, Sheriff 'Boss' Napier's investigation, Bums's well-meant meddling, and the people and doings at Hartley Gorman are the exactly-right mix of realism and wackiness to make the book a delight as well as a suspenseful mystery.
I'd totally forgotten what a wonderful snarkfest Bill Crider's writing is! And the laid-back performance by Dean Sluyter is the perfect showcase for this form of humor. I will admit to being thankful that Sluyter did not give the performance in Southern or Texan drawl, as I often find the speech somewhat incomprehensible to my ears.
The basic tale is retro to the late 1980s on the campus of a denominational college. Carl Burns is the normally non-descript professor who discovers the body of a very unpopular dean and then gets entangled in further misadventures. A fun read whether you went to college or not. No gratuitous foul language, explicit violence, or sex.
"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast."
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is a droll, amusing little mystery with a nice collection of colorful, more or less comical characters. The narrator does an especially good job of handling the varied character voices. … I wish the previous reviewer had spent one minute consulting a dictionary before attacking the narrator's pronunciation. I heard no mispronounced words. My dictionary (Webster's New World) shows three accepted pronunciations of "pecan," including PEE-kan.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Is there anything you would change about this book?
Change the setting. These folks were not from Texas!
Would you recommend One Dead Dean to your friends? Why or why not?
No, it seems a little dated for my college students.
What didn’t you like about Dean Sluyter’s performance?
Reading was too slow. The lilt of the voice made the story drag and it seemed as though he was reading it to me as though I was not a native English speaker.
Could you see One Dead Dean being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
Maybe, but the characters would need lots more sizzle!!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about One Dead Dean?
Crider knows a lot about the academic environment and as a veteran of over four decades at various institutions I found the story fun and funny...and close to home in many respects.
What did you like best about this story?
The characters, for the most part, are quite believable.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
I found the continual mispronunciation of certain words, particularly "Pecan", was very irritating and distracting. The narrator pronounced the word as if he was referring to a bedpan...a “pee can.” Texans, unlike many folks, know how to pronounce the word.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Bill Crider and/or Dean Sluyter?
Reviews showed me that this book picked up a bit towards the edn, but I had to put it down after about an hour as I found the story trite, overdone, and just couldn't toleate the narrator's nasal voice.
I don't think I'll read another book by either.
What do you think your next listen will be?
I was hoping that this book would be more sinister than it was. I'll go back to serious mystery novels.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Dean Sluyter?
Perhaps could have been more interesting with a female lead and female narrator.
Any additional comments?
I received this audio book in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobookblast.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful