Deadmistress and sequel

I received an email today from the author Carole Shmurak, who is a member of the Dorthy L list, to say that Death by Committee, the second Susan Lombardi mystery and sequel to Deadmistress, is now available on

I can recommend Deadmistress, which I read during the summer of 2005 — pre-blogging and while immobile for a few weeks because of a foot operation. From the Amazon review of Deadmistress: "This semester has been a real killer. The headmistress of a posh private school for girls has been found brutally murdered in her office. When professor and educational consultant Susan Lombardi learns that her close friend John has been accused of the crime, she wastes no time setting out to clear his name. While doing so she uncovers some troubling secrets about the school’s faculty and staff, and it soon becomes clear that John is definitely not the only one with a motive for murdering the "deadmistress".  "

Here is the Amazon review of the sequel, Death by Committee: "The good news: You’ve got tenure. The bad news: You’re dead. Faculty squabbling at a large state university turns deadly when professor of education Susan Lombardi joins a committee to make a tenure decision about Abby Gillette, a controversial faculty member. After one colleague is hospitalized following a suspicious fire and another is found dead in Abby’s office, Susan must try to figure out who is doing what to whom…without becoming the next victim. At the same time, she must deal with her husband’s highly dysfunctional family and help a friend handle a questionable romance. The second volume in the Susan Lombardi series, this charming, witty mystery is in a class by itself."

*Deadmistress*, a Susan Lombardi Mystery. Named a Notable Book by Writers Notes Magazine Book Awards. Just released: *Death by Committee*, the 2nd Susan Lombardi mystery. Read reviews at this link. You can read the first chapter of Death by Committee at the publisher’s website.

Autumn books: the theorist

The last of my Autumn books selections from Nature is a review of Matt Ridley’s Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code by Horace Freeland Judson. (Judson’s most famous book is a scientific history of the discovery of the double helix and subsequent research: The Eighth Day of Creation.)

From the Nature review of Ridley’s new book:

"The subtitle is symptomatic, for Crick was both less and far more than "discoverer of the genetic code". Breaking the code was a paradigmatic example of collective–competitive effort. The idea that there must be a code had been put forward in 1944 by the physicist Erwin Schrödinger. From the moment in the spring of 1953 when Crick and James Watson announced the structure of DNA, the need to determine how the structure carries the code was obvious. That summer, the eccentric physicist George Gamow was the first to propose an actual mechanism, wildly wrong but forcing the question. The task itself — to identify which of the 64 triplet codons of the four bases in DNA specify which of 20-odd amino acids — took several years and at least half a dozen scientists and laboratories to solve. Crick himself did very little of the laboratory work. Rather, he was the explicator, the arbiter, the taskmaster.

Crick was above all the theorist — and that’s the unifying thread. Not just with the coding problem but throughout his career, Crick was the one who put other scientists’ thoughts in order. He soaked up data, mostly other people’s, but saw beyond the data to their meaning, their shape, their implications. He found principles, and did it with a preternatural clarity of mind and in inimitable style."

As before, if you would like to read this review in full, or any of the other reviews in the Nature Autumn books section, please drop a line in the comments.

Continue reading