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Matricide at St. Martha's (1995)

by Ruth Dudley Edwards

Series: Robert Amiss (5)

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1143243,655 (3.73)3
St. Martha's College, Cambridge, had been staggering along on a shoestring for decades. Then alumna Alice Toon leaves her old school a huge fortune. The dons immediately fall to fighting over the spoils. The Virgins, led by Dame Maud Theodosia Buckbarrow, believe the bequests should be spent on scholarships. The Dykes¬≠--fewer in number but better street fighters--want to raise a center of Gender and Ethnic Studies. The Old Women (mostly men) dream of fine vintages to be laid down in a decent new wine cellar. Impasse!They've reckoned without the Bursar, Jack Troutbeck. She elects to infiltrate this maelstrom of politics with her own agent, Robert Amiss, a former civil servant with a talent for sorting things out. No sooner does he arrive on the scene where the Virgins are getting the upper hand than Dame Maud is murdered, leading into what Mike Ripley of The Daily Telegraph described as: "An acidly funny romp... Superbly bitchy on the none-too-fragrant groves of academe"… (more)
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Showing 3 of 3
murder at a woman's college as new battles old over large legacy
  ritaer | Jul 4, 2021 |
Ruth Dudley Edwards worked as a civil servant for a long time, and her forte is to poke fun at the establishment, by exploiting all the ridiculousness of any system. My favourite RDE is this one. As usual, she aims to show the pettiness and stupidity of our age, by focusing on overzealous political correctness and hypocrisy, this time in an Cambridge college. As usual a clever and funny book with highly entertaining characters. In this book the very memorable Jack Troutback makes her entry and she does it with a stamina that is entirely her own. After the Matricide, she is on of the main characters of the series, and it is obvious as to why. Anybody who has ever encountered fanatics, what ever field it may be, and people who drive a cause for their own cause, but pretend otherwise, will recognise and enjoy themselves. ( )
1 vote Bookoholic73 | Oct 26, 2009 |
If for some reason you want to read this book, don't expect a British cozy. This one is far from it. It is set at St. Martha's College, and the matricide refers to the death of the College's mistress. Set against a backdrop of warring factions on campus, the mystery, of course, is who killed the Mistress?

I didn't exactly love this book, but it was okay. I'm not really sure I'd recommend it except to really diehard British mystery fans. At times it was very long winded and I just wanted to get through it; the scenes of politics and the move to extreme political correctness were kind of funny. ( )
  bcquinnsmom | May 11, 2006 |
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Heaven preserve me from idealists. Whoever they are and no matter how high-sounding their motives seem to be, they are usually in the business of gaining power for themselves or their own faction. It doesn't matter if they call themselves National Socialists or Basque Separatists or Red Brigaders or IRA or whether they call it freedom, justice, democracy or power to the people or even flower power - what they really want is to control other people and bend them to their will.

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St. Martha's College, Cambridge, had been staggering along on a shoestring for decades. Then alumna Alice Toon leaves her old school a huge fortune. The dons immediately fall to fighting over the spoils. The Virgins, led by Dame Maud Theodosia Buckbarrow, believe the bequests should be spent on scholarships. The Dykes­--fewer in number but better street fighters--want to raise a center of Gender and Ethnic Studies. The Old Women (mostly men) dream of fine vintages to be laid down in a decent new wine cellar. Impasse!They've reckoned without the Bursar, Jack Troutbeck. She elects to infiltrate this maelstrom of politics with her own agent, Robert Amiss, a former civil servant with a talent for sorting things out. No sooner does he arrive on the scene where the Virgins are getting the upper hand than Dame Maud is murdered, leading into what Mike Ripley of The Daily Telegraph described as: "An acidly funny romp... Superbly bitchy on the none-too-fragrant groves of academe"

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