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Murder at the B-School    by Jeffrey Cruikshank order for
Murder at the B-School
by Jeffrey Cruikshank
Order:  USA  Can
Mysterious Press, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The 'B-School' is the Harvard Business School, where Wim Vermeer (a descendant of the 17th century Dutch painter) is an assistant professor, He's popular with his students, but not slated for tenure. Eric Macinnes - a student from an extremely wealthy, dynastic family - dies in a whirlpool after hours when he should not have had access. When Business School Dean Bishop asks Vermeer to handle liaison and support to the family, Wim gradually begins to do his own digging into the case. He starts by consulting senior finance professor Marc Pirle, who has advised the Macinnes patriarch for almost a decade.

Captain Barbara Brouillard, nicknamed 'Ms. Biz' by her Boston Police Department colleagues, catches the case. Offered Wim as a Harvard liaison, she tells him her investigation is 'not a sandbox for civilians'. Nevertheless, she rather likes the rumpled professor. Barbara's soon very busy. The corpses pile up, and both rumor and computer evidence begin to point (a little too easily from the Captain's perspective) towards Wim Vermeer. It turns out that Eric, the 'golden boy', was actually a very lonely person, with secrets from some family members, but not from his sister Libby, who offers surprises of her own. The violence escalates as the story unfolds in both Boston and Puerto Rico.

The backgrounds (Harvard and the tropical island where the villain is confronted) make for an interesting read, though the story is slow to establish and shows some of the awkwardness of a first effort. Murder at the B-School ends with a career change and a new opportunity for Wim Vermeer, one that looks likely to lead to further financial mysteries.

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