Monday, September 24, 2007

overheard plus

This one was actually submitted by JFW premium subscriber from Dwarfamor, ME:
"I really think I want to do something to make a difference this year."
"Me, too. The difference I am committed to making is that I'm going to go to my classes."
Another friend e-mailed me to say that her department has decided that this fall they will have a retreat. The idea being to talk about some larger and weightier issues about structure and collegiality. Northwestern sociology had a retreat this summer, although it was held in a conference room and was not that different from how you'd imagine a seven-hour faculty meeting. In the case of my friend's retreat, they are having a professional moderator--intriguing occupation, that--and they are talking about going to a lodge. As my friend was telling me about all this, I just kept thinking one thing: this is the best premise for an academic murder mystery novel that I have ever heard in my life. Sort of like Straight Man meets And Then There Were None.

4 comments:

Jennifer said...

I have a great love for academic mysteries, murders, etc. in fiction (one I am ashamed to admit). Here's a nice list of same: http://www.cluesunlimited.com/academe.htm.
I would add that David Lodge's Nice Work has a murder, although the characters are not on retreat. Come to think of it, I think one of his other books features a murder at a conference. It is a small conference...almost a retreat?

tina said...

I am with you on that. It would be so easy for the author to make it believable that any member of the department had a motive for the crime.

Sometimes I'm surprised there aren't more academic homicides in real life.

Brady said...

See, I would think being trapped in a mediated, mandatory departmental retreat would be motive enough for anyone to commit murder. Everyone would be a suspect.

jeremy said...

Jennifer: Thanks so much for the link!