Read The Maltese Manuscript by Joanne Dobson Online


In classic noir tradition, English professor Karen Pelletier gains a client when her office door opens and a famous crime novelist enters. The author is dogged by Trouble, a Rottweiler, and by a problem. And since the tough-gal celebrity writer, Sunnye Hardcastle, is keynote speaker at the upcoming Enfield College Women's Studies conference on Crime Fiction, Karen is hookeIn classic noir tradition, English professor Karen Pelletier gains a client when her office door opens and a famous crime novelist enters. The author is dogged by Trouble, a Rottweiler, and by a problem. And since the tough-gal celebrity writer, Sunnye Hardcastle, is keynote speaker at the upcoming Enfield College Women's Studies conference on Crime Fiction, Karen is hooked.Little does she expect a priceless manuscript to be stolen from the college library, the thief to be found dead in the library's closed stacks, and her famous client to be suspected of both crimes. All this occurs smack dab in the middle of a feminist conference on the crime novel, and Karen must use her investigative skills to detect which of the many conferees has set out to Deconstruct Death....

Title : The Maltese Manuscript
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781590582909
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 275 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Maltese Manuscript Reviews

  • Abigail Bok
    2019-02-07 06:21

    My bad: I read the fifth entry in this series before reading the fourth! No wonder I felt a certain level of dislocation upon finding some of the recurrent characters in different places in their lives from the point where I’d left them.For the uninitiated, Joanne Dobson’s series features Karen Pelletier, a working-class single mother who has carved out an untenured position in the English Department of Enfield College, a fictional New England school for primarily privileged youth. She has a gift for stumbling into mysteries—literally, in the first book, when a body falls out of a coat closet on her at a departmental event, if I recall correctly. Her intellectual curiosity leads her into tight spots, and she repeatedly feels compelled to risk her position by entangling herself in dangerous situations.Pelletier is an interesting, layered character, and one of the things I like best about the series is that Dobson gives equal time to her personal life and her amateur sleuthing. In The Maltese Manuscript, the story centers on the Enfield College library, where rare books have been going missing at an alarming rate. Add missing persons and a body, and it’s too much to hope that Professor Pelletier won’t stick her nose in. Her cop boyfriend is not happy about that, but with a handsome and mysterious P.I. hovering around, who cares?Dobson is not one for leaving loose ends, and this book is no different; everything gets tied up neatly at the end. I give her props for varying the formula, almost inescapable at the time these books were written, of a climactic scene where the perp can’t resist Explaining All while holding the heroine at gunpoint. Dobson twists that cliché quite deftly. Where she lost me a bit—and this may be the result of my reading the book out of order—was in the portrayal of certain elements of Professor Pelletier’s personal life. I felt she took too much for granted and found myself struggling to reach for the backstories of some of the recurrent characters, trying to fill in what felt like gaps in the present narrative. It must be difficult and frustrating for authors of series to give the reader enough pointers to a character’s history that the character is fully fleshed out, without endlessly repeating elements of previous books in the series. I get it and I sympathize, but I felt as if this book presumed too much, that the characters would feel thin to anyone reading a Pelletier mystery for the first time. It also seemed as if some of the student characters were repurposings of students from previous books—the same figure with a different name. Maybe there are only so many student types, but I felt she could have tried a bit harder. And perhaps some of Pelletier’s ongoing conflicts and uncertainties are getting a bit tired.That said, the principal new character was very entertaining, and every book in this series is way better than most mysteries I encounter. The parodies of lit-crit gobbledygook were hilarious, and Karen Pelletier is someone I am always happy to spend a few hours with.

  • Stuart
    2019-02-06 01:21

    Joanne Dobson’s 5th Karen Pelletier mystery, and the fourth one I have read, it was my least favorite. I found it slow to get into, and the ending was a shoot-out where the culprit reveals himself rather than being detected. It’s possible that I have now read too many of the Pelletier novels in a row, of course, because somehow the same combination of characters and manuscripts that was so appealing in the previous books didn’t seem to click as well in this one. The story once again takes place on the campus of the fictional New England university of Enfield. It has as background a literary / Womens’ Studies conference on the crime novel, which allows the author to poke some serious fun at the academic attitudes, putting nonsensical gobbledygook in the mouths of some of the feminist professors. The conference and the initial crime in the story (the theft of hundreds of crime stories from the university library) also allow for lots of references back to classic crime stories. When one of the library’s prize artifacts (an original manuscript of “The Maltese Falcon”) also goes missing, the book gets its title, and when we have the inevitable suspicious death, would you believe in the library, we have the ultimate classic “The Body in the Library”.One of the most anticipated speakers at the conference is Sunnye Hardcastle, a modern day writer of stories about a woman PI (think Sue Grafton or Sara Peretsky). When the body is found in the library, Sunnye is among the suspects, and Karen risks her relationship with detective Charlie Piotrowski, to defend and support her. Complicating Karen’s social life is the appearance of a PI hired by the university to investigate the book thief (note – must read the book of that name), who turns out to have been at high school with Karen, and whom she has met at said high school’s recent reunion.Many of the same waifs and strays reappear in this story also: Karen’s daughter Amanda comes home sick; her colleagues’ social lives move on; and another waif in the form of a “mature” student starts to miss classes, making her a suspect in the death also. This student also raises the interesting question of whether it is right to treat crime fiction, especially murder, as entertainment, when the real thing destroys so many lives. I liked the author’s branch into the style of Sunnye Hardcastle, in several patches said to be excerpts from one of Sunnye’s books. Just as she has written poetry in other books, purporting to be that of a fictional author, it’s nice to see the alternative style. But this book was still not her best (in my opinion). Maybe I’ll give them a rest and come back later for the others.

  • Kaye McSpadden
    2019-02-06 00:14

    I must admit at the start that I'm not generally a fan of serial mysteries. However, I've read many that were more enjoyable than this. Not only did I not enjoy The Maltese Manuscript, I found it very annoying. The story is told in first person by English Professor Karen Pelletier. Now, I must also admit that I generally don't care for first-person narratives unless there's a good reason for the story to be told in first person. In this case, there was none. In fact, I found Professor Pelletier to be so annoying, I really got tired of her and also bored with the story.There is no sense of suspense or excitement, despite the story elements of a mysterious disappearance, a murder, and a huge, unusual theft. One of the most annoying things about Pelletier and the story in general was the fact that NO ONE seemed to be very concerned about the mysterious disappearance of a young single mother and her child. In fact, Pelletier keeps a key piece of information about this young woman from the police, information that could perhaps help them find her.In the end, of course, we end up with the mysterious disappearance not amounting to a hill of beans, and in fact, it didn't even have anything to do with the main storyline. In addition, the "murder" turned out not to be a murder at all.I understand Dobson's attempt to create the ambiance of a college community, and promote an appreciation for rare books and the world of academia. However, in the process, I don't think she succeeded in crafting a very compelling story, much less a compelling mystery.And I'd like to mention one more thing. I don't understand how a book that's actually written by an English professor could end up with so many typesetting and other errors. For instance, from time to time there are entire pages that show up printed entirely in boldface. WTF? On page 234 someone's name and email address somehow got embedded into the text. WTF? On page 247 the narrative includes this sentence: "We could have taken him if it wasn't for the gun." Don't they teach about subjunctives in English anymore? And somewhere in the book (I forgot to mark it), she actually used the phrase "a whole nother..." I admit these criticisms are fairly picky and unimportant, but in an book that celebrates the written word and the academic study of English and literature, you would think that they would have been more careful.

  • Kestrell
    2019-01-29 02:36

    The female crime fiction writer somewhat boggled at the literary jargon she experiences at a women studies mystery fiction conference is a great character, but Dobson's fellow female academics are all stereotypes, and negative ones at that: the protagonist is portrayed as somehow being more dedicated and more realistic because of her poor background, but she never really has a serious literary or political discussion with any of the other female characters. This series is often positively compared to the academic mystery series by Amanda Cross, but Amanda Cross was much better at including a range of female characters with whom the female academic could have intelligent conversations, while also spending less time with her female protagonist checking out potential romantic partners. Bottom line: still enjoyable, but somewhat less intellectually and emotionally satisfying than an Amanda Cross mystery.

  • Kelly
    2019-01-21 00:24

    I've missed Karen Pelletier and Enfield College!! I think it's been about five years since I read the last one in the series. I love the prestigious New England campus, the typically wintery weather, English Professor Karen's quirky colleagues and students, her cozy little farm house on the outskirts of town, and her friendly relationship with cop Charlie Piotrowski. The books are smart and witty, and never fail to make me chuckle!In The Maltese Manuscript, mystery series author Sunnye Hardcastle comes to Enfield for a murder mystery conference, bringing her every-present Rottweiler, Trouble, with her. Sunnye and Trouble quickly manage to insert themselves into Karen's life in the midst of two real-life mysteries: someone has stolen some valuable books from the college library, and a body has been found in the stacks of the Special Collections room. Ignoring Piotrowski's warnings to stay out of the case, Karen sets out to solve the mystery.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-26 00:25

    It almost hurts me to write this review, but this was my least favorite of Joanne Dobson's novels that I have read to date. The beginning was slow and the ending a little flat. The middle had such build of anticipation and so many avenues of possibility, but in the end I feel the weakest route was taken. I certainly do not wish to deter readers from picking up this book. It had all the comfort a series should have in returning to familiar characters, as if you were reuniting with old friends. Dobson's four previous novels left me with high expectations and The Maltese Manuscript just did not deliver for me.

  • Donna
    2019-02-14 02:32

    Joanne Dobson appears to have hit her stride as a mystery novelist with this book. I thought it was the best so far in her series. An interesting plot, with twists and turns. Insteresting characters --as always. And some lively "fun" poked at academia, especially with regard to the convoluted, inflated, self-important academic speak often used by the professorial crowd. It made me laugh out loud, probably because I work with academic books and sooo recognized the truth of Dobson's humor. What can be said simply and clearly is often tortured into incomprehensible multisyllabic nonsense in academic papers and books. It is refreshing to see an academic who recognizes that fact.

  • Vicki
    2019-02-15 05:37

    The library found it! It had been misfiled or something. In any case, it's a nice ending to the series in some sense, but I think it's the most weakly plotted from a mystery standpoint. There's a lot of alusion to the classics of the mystery genre, but it seems less literary than the rest of the series. The plot doesn't turn on an intricate but heretofore unknown portion of an author's writing or life that is crucial to some professor's research. The critique of academic speak is particularly cutting in this book as well.

  • Robert Palmer
    2019-01-23 06:24

    This is not a sequel to The Dashiell Hammett novel as I thought when checking it out at my library,it is rather about the thrift of the manuscript of the Maltese Falcon with handwritten notes included.Of course their has to be a murder otherwise it wouldn't be a mystery and this is good one. If you have ever worked in a library or a book store this book might be right up your alley. It even has The Body in the Library---think Agatha Christie and other references to famous mystery stories.

  • Jane
    2019-01-18 05:31

    It's a perfect fun read for English professors: about rare books and the protagonist is an English professor. This one includes all kinds of references to old mystery books as well as some fun pokes at lit-crit discourse. I'd guess she's read much more in the crime/mystery genres since her first book since this one contains somewhat subtler plotting and better red herring placement as well as a plot that revolves around crime fiction.

  • Susan
    2019-02-11 05:11

    Dr. Pelletier inadvertently becomes partners with mystery writer Sunnye Hardcastle to clear the author as a murder suspect. Plenty of suspense ensues, but the best part is Karen's sharp, humorous inner dialogue. I wish this series had more books!

  • Todd Stockslager
    2019-01-27 22:14

    Close to a classic, this book hits all my buttons: a fast-paced well-told mystery about a classic mystery (a hand-corrected manuscript--of Hammett's Maltese Falcon, of course), and about people who love to read, collect--and steal!--books for their own sake.What's not to like?

  • Grey853
    2019-02-14 01:17

    Someone is stealing books from the special collections section of the university library. Then there's a possible murder.Karen gets put right in the middle of it all.I enjoyed the characters and the overall plot.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-02-04 05:11

    The background to this story includes some very interesting historical tidbits about the early writers of murder mysteries and other crime fiction including female writers from this genre who wrote in the middle of the 1800's. Fascinating!!

  • Arlene Richards
    2019-01-27 01:20

    Joanne Dobson is a consistent writer of entertaining mystery novels.

  • Julie
    2019-02-01 03:12

    Another good edition to this series.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-29 00:13

    Some of the plot twists were obvious from quite a distance and the author doesn't always work her lengthy expositions in very well, but an interesting voice and style.

  • Gwen
    2019-02-08 23:39

    English professor helps her cop boyfriend discover who is stealing books from the library. i like the characters.

  • Carolyn Rose
    2019-01-19 05:39

    I picked this book up because of the title and perhaps that's why I expected more of it than I came away feeling I got.

  • Andy Plonka
    2019-02-05 03:11

    Competently written cozy in which rare books are stolen from University libraries.

  • Marilou
    2019-02-12 02:35

    "Fun" mystery set on a university campus; department chairs, university presidents, typical faculty, odd librarians, shady p.i.'s and a coupla good cops...

  • Leslie Angel
    2019-02-02 05:34

    Nice mystery, good characters, an all-around nice, readable series. Academic setting.

  • Amyem
    2019-01-30 02:39

  • Elisha (lishie)
    2019-01-26 04:21

    Besides the mystery, I liked the personal aspect of Professor Karen Pelletier's life in this 5th installment.

  • Cece
    2019-01-25 06:37

    Not my favorite-Sunnye is annoying in the extreme.