“State University of Murder: A Nick Hoffman Mystery” by Lev Raphael— Nick Is Back

Raphael, Lev. “State University of Murder: A Nick Hoffman Mystery”,  Perseverance Press, 2019.

Nick Is Back

Amos Lassen

I was once a loyal reader of Lev Raphael’s books including the Nick Hoffman mysteries that just one day disappeared. The good news is that we have “State University of Murder”, a new Nick Hoffman mystery. This is number 9 in the series. For you new readers, Nick is a literature professor on the campus of the State University of Michigan. Things have finally settled down after the horrific violence of 2014’s “Assault with a Deadly Lie”, and Nick Hoffman and his fellow lit professor husband, Stefan, are getting on with their lives. But this is hurt by new department head, Napoléon Padovani, who has a lot of radical ideas for the department, many of which involve various program cuts and faculty being assigned to courses they can’t stand. (I have been there and done that). Padovani’s behavior is also sexual harassment, and by the time he’s finally killed, almost everyone in the department is a suspect. Lev Raphael knows university politics and they seem to overshadow the plot. His distinctive characters and authenticity of the setting keep the story moving forward.

While still dealing with having escaped the mass shooting on campus in the previous Nick Hoffman mystery, Nick has been hearing confessions by one colleague after another and learning that each of them has a good reason to hate Napoleon Padovani, the new department chair who throws his weight around capriciously and cruelly. As resentment grows on campus, a fatal result seems  inevitable. Chaos and confusion become the state among the faculty and it  turns on its own. Raphael describes the university as “a unique combination of the vanity of professional sports, the hypocrisy of politics, the cruelty of big business, with a touch of organized crime thrown in.” Here is an excellent satire on academia and if you have ever been a faculty member on a college campus you know exactly what I mean.

“The Borgias would not be bored at the State University of Michigan, that snake pit of academic politics.”―NYT Book Review

“Clever and sharp social satire.”―Los Angeles Times

“A delightful take on death in the halls of academia.”―Boston Globe

“Raphael’s witty insight makes his fictional town of Michiganapolis a very happening place.”―Library Journal

“…pointed and funny put-downs of academics.”―Detroit Free

“Raphael’s witty insight makes his fictional town of Michiganapolis a very happening place.”―Library Journal

Leave a Reply