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Death of a Department Chair
A Novel

2007 Book & Jacket Design Honoree, the Association of American University Presses

“A tidy mystery with enough ambitious careerists and theorists to staff a dozen dysfunctional lit departments. Miller knows where the academic bodies are buried both literally and figuratively, and she touches up a traditional mystery with some lively, non-traditional angles.”
—Janice Law, author of Nightbus

A witty, provocative take on the classic murder mystery

In Death of a Department Chair, protagonist Miriam Held recounts the events of the previous fall when she was suspected of killing Isabel Vittorio, the chair of her department and her former lover. The controversial and contrary Vittorio was, at the time of her death, attempting to block the hire of a brilliant African American female professor. Already under siege for her attempts to increase diversity on campus, Miriam is forced to defend her reputation and her life. As she searches for the truth, Miriam amasses evidence that leaves few friends and colleagues free from suspicion. Both a classic whodunit and a witty satire, Death of a Department Chair dramatizes how communities can create the very climate of mistrust and paranoia that victimizes them.


Lynn C. Miller is professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of a novel, The Fool's Journey, and coeditor of Voices Made Flesh: Performing Women's Autobiography.




“Everything moves fast in this mystery romp about desire and academic greed. Lynn Miller gives us not one but two deliciously insensitive villains and one first-rate heroine, not to mention a jumble of realistic crazies that anyone who's ever majored in anything at any university will recognize. A page turner whose witty and caring author makes us curious not only about who done it but who, amazingly enough, managed to hold off and not do it."
—Carol Bly, author of My Lord Bag of Rice



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Of Related Interest


A Novel
Laura Grimaldi, translated by Robin Pickering-Iazzi


October 2006
LC: 2006008064 PS
256 pp.  6 x 9

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Paper $24.95
ISBN 9780299219741
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