Reviewed by GLORIA MAXWELL:         


WILL HARRISS – The Bay Psalm Book Murder. Walker & Co., hardcover, 1983. Paperback reprint: Pinnacle, 1985.

    “If only he were Hercule Poirot, he reflected ruefully, he could sit back and could put his little grey cells to work and solve the problem with a brilliant flash of deduction, or at least seize on a glaring clue that everyone had overlooked. His little grey cells merely lay in his skull like oatmeal, however.”

   Those are the thoughts that Professor Cliff Dunbar has as he begins investigating the details of Link Schofield’s murder. Schofield’s daughter asks Dunbar to examine the details of her father’s death after the police classify it as “open but unsolved.”

   Dunbar agrees to take a preliminary look, since Link was a close friend and because he faces a great deal of free time. Dunbar’s wife unexpectedly died of cancer several months earlier, and he has resigned his faculty position because of differences with the chairman and doubts about teaching in general.

   Perhaps the most curious aspect of Link’s murder is that the killers took $14.00 from his wallet, yet left the Bay Psalm Book in his hand — a rare book worth $300,000. Cliff’s investigation brings him into dangerous contact with forces that soon spell personal danger.


   The trail leads to Las Vegas, with its blackjack tables and corruption behind the scenes, and California politics with its ruthless campaign tactics. Along the way, Cliff enlists the services of a bright, pretty proofreader named Mona. She provides the professor with a little romantic uplift.

   Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel of 1983, this book sparkles with style and panache. Harriss has created a delightful mystery that is extremely well-plotted, filled with enjoyable, full-bodied characters, and one that maintains a brisk pace that never falters.

   The first sentence glitters with quality and serves as the first clue that the reader is in store for an award-winning mystery treat!

— Reprinted from The Poisoned Pen, Vol. 6, No. 4, Fall 1986.

    Bibliographic Data: [Taken from the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin.]

HARRISS, WILL(ard Irvin). 1922-

       The Bay Psalm Book Murder (n.) Walker 1983. [Cliff Dunbar]
       Timor Mortis (n.) Walker 1986. [Cliff Dunbar]


       Noble Rot (n.) St. Martin�s 1993.