Book Review: Murder in Disguise

16 Nov

Official verdict: Suicide.

But why would that vigorous department chairman kill himself? To avoid disgrace? Those rumored ventures on the dark side? Some other secret life? Visiting professor Preston Barclay wonders. But his questions bring no answers, only anonymous threats. He has enough problems already, proving himself on a strange campus while radical faculty do all they can to undermine him. Worse yet, that sexy siren assigned as his assistant complicates his courtship of the beautiful Mara Thorn.

While Press keeps asking questions, Mara’s research reveals a cancer of criminal activity that permeates the community and even the campus itself. The more Press questions, the more dangerous the threats against him become, and the more determined he grows to clear his friend’s name.

But can Press and Mara’s stumbling efforts prevail against the entrenched forces of the police, the campus radicals, and an unseen but powerful criminal organization that increasingly puts their lives in danger . . . ?

With a PhD in English literature (Renaissance), Donn Taylor taught literature for 18 years at two liberal arts colleges. Now retired, he has published suspense novels, mysteries, and poetry. His historical novel “Lightning on a Quiet Night” was a finalist for the 2015 Selah Awards. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences. In a prior incarnation, he led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. He now lives in the woods near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.

Find out more about Donn at

My Impressions:

Professor Preston Barclay is back in Donn Taylor’s third novel featuring murder in academia, Murder in Disguise. In this new mystery, Press is a visiting professor at a state university. His summer plans of low-key teaching and reading are interrupted by the apparent suicide of the head of the History department. Although he adamantly proclaims that he is not investigating what the widow suspects is foul play, everyone from the janitor to the associate professors to the local police are on notice that Press is on the case.

Mysterious doings are the center of Murder in Disguise. Press is confronted with the seedier side of society as he uncovers prostitution and drug-trafficking in his quest to clear his colleague’s reputation. In addition, the novel explores the failure of academia to ensure freedom of ideas is upheld. A good bit of time is spent in discussion of the failure to preserve the right of expression. Press and his love interest, Mara, are the main characters in this novel. There is a lot of backstory for the two that unfolded in the first two books, but the reader doesn’t really need it to read this book. Supporting characters are not as developed as I would have liked, and to be honest I never really engaged with the story or the people involved. For the literary and music minded, there are lots of references to classic works.

A quick read, Murder in Disguise was just an okay read for me. But others would disagree. Be sure to check out their reviews.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to LitFuse for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine.)

2 Responses to “Book Review: Murder in Disguise”

  1. latayne November 16, 2017 at 8:48 am #

    I read the book and loved it. While the action is easy to follow, much of the book is indeed a kind of “subtext” of subtle allusions and wry humor. (And I love the cover.) I look forward to reading more from Donn Taylor!

    • rbclibrary November 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed it!

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