you are looking for some fun reading, exploring
campus conflict through fiction, perhaps you might
enjoy A Darker Shade of Crimson. I sure did,
but then I'm a fan of campus murder mysteries.
the story unfolds, the female Dean of Students of
Harvard Law School if found dead, apparently due
to a fall down a flight of steps during a power
outage. The body is discovered by Nikki Chase, a
young African American assistant professor in the
Economics Department. Rosezella Fisher, the deceased,
was a smart, politically astute African American
woman who had earned some enemies in her diligent
climb to the deanship. Nikki, who serves as our
narrator, worked with Rosezella on a committee examining
university finances. In order to finish an important
University budget report, Nikki must locate two
of the dead woman's computer disks. She soon begins
to suspect foul play and starts an investigation
that takes the reader into some of the formal and
informal social networks found both on and off campus.
author uses the investigation to incorporate attitudes
toward race and integration into the story, contrasting
for instance older African Americans formed by the
Civil Rights movement to younger middle-class blacks
who seem to take for granted the movements achievements.
Suspects in the case include the debonair new university
president who promoted Fisher from the secretarial
ranks (allegedly thanks to her talents between the
sheets), a slimy comptroller with a repertoire of
bilingual come-ons and a black radical bookseller
who is the dead woman's ex-husband.
author, Pamela Thomas-Graham, the first black woman
partner at a large management consultant firm in
New York, is a three-degree Harvard alumnus (B.A.,
J.D. and M.B.A.). Her familiarity with both the
campus and the issues explored in the book make
for a convincing and fun portrait of intrigue and
murder at her alma mater.