The Case of the Defunct Adjunct by Frankie Bow
A Prequel to the Molly Barda Mystery series
Academic intrigue surrounds Mahina State and Molly Barda is it its
midst. Molly has to deal with the refusal of administration to remove a
possibly dangerous student, the possible improper use of college funds,
media coverage of the whistle blowing event, and the collapse of the
accused into his haupia cheesecake, all while being nontenured!
When most people think of Hawaii they think of pristine beaches and beautiful warm weather. However, Hawaii is not quite the tropical paradise of our imaginations. Tourists may have one view, but the locals must deal with real issues-sky high property costs, the exorbitant cost of shipping goods to the islands, hot humid weather, and, in The Case of the Defunct Adjunct, the dumbing down of today's students and the trials of living in academia.
In this prequel we meet Molly Barda, a professor with a PhD in literature and creative writing who has wound up teaching in the school of Commerce; business writing. Molly and her friends, Emma and Iker, are conscientious teachers faced not only with the bureaucracy of academia, but the evil Student Retention Office; a department that takes person centeredness too far, turning it into "satisfy the student no matter what". When a fellow teacher is murdered and suspicion falls on Emma's brother, Molly agrees to look into the situation.
Bow writes using the dialects and speech patterns found in Hawaii peppered with some Yiddish from Emma (who got her PhD from Cornell). The novel takes a good look at struggling professors at a struggling college. Years ago when I was researching to see if pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology was right for me I talked to many recent graduates. They all said, "Don't do it". I wonder if they did internships at Mahina State? Bow has the ability to take serious subjects, but treat them with humor and fun to create an enjoyable read. While I don't think I'd care to be a guest lecturer at Mahina State, I do want to return to Hawaii to see what Molly and her friends get up to next!
FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC in the hopes I would review it.
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