Allison Bergeron, an English professor at a Catholic college, has a less than orthodox lifestyle in “Extra Credit” (Minotaur, ($24.99) by Maggie Barbieri..
The latest in Barbieri's “Murder 101” mystery series pits Allison against her new husband's crazy former in-laws when they all come to a birthday party for her twin stepdaughters.
Among the guests are husband Bobby Crawford's first wife, Christine, and her brother Chick, who has been estranged from the family for years.
Chick gives each of the girls a sizable cash present. Bobby and Christine decide the gifts are too much. When Bobby goes to Chick's seedy apartment to return the money, he finds the uncle is dead, and his mattress is stuffed with $250,000.
Allison learns from a friendly medical examiner that the death is ruled a suicide. But Christine thinks it was murder and prevails on Allison to help her find “the truth.”
Meanwhile, Allison is running into other problems — a stepdaughter who may have cheated on an exam at the college, an older woman who is auditing Allison's course and wants to write a novel, and the dead man's former wife looking for his killer and hoping to get his money. And somewhere among all her activities, Allison has run into someone who wants her out of the picture.
— Kay Dyer