Let’s kick off The Musubi Murder Great Escapes Tour with a bang!!
I am so excited to welcome Frankie Bow
to Escape With Dollycas today!
A CAMPUS MURDER MYSTERY for the AGE of BUDGET CUTS
Our guest of honor, Jimmy Tanaka, may have been “The Most Hated Man in Hawaii,” but he was also the biggest donor in the history of the College of Commerce. We were in no position to be picky about the moral character of our benefactors. Not after the latest round of budget cuts.
Campus sleuths have traditionally plied their trade in rarefied surroundings. In Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night (1925), Harriet Vane investigates some unpleasantness at Shrewsbury College, Oxford. Gervase Fen, an Oxford professor of English, might involve himself in a “splendidly complicated crime” as an amusing diversion. Amanda Cross’s Kate Fansler holds court in a richly-appointed office in stately Baldwin Hall. Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse works the Oxford beat. Sarah Caudwell’s delightful Hilary Tamar is a professor of medieval law at Oxford. Joanne Dobson’s Karen Pelletier sleuths at the leafy and exclusive Enfield College.
But for Professor Molly Barda, the reluctant amateur detective and narrator of The Musubi Murder, college is not a luxury experience. Like most students and faculty today, Molly and her colleagues are trying to do more with less, while bracing for the next round of budget cuts.
Molly teaches at a regional state university in rural Hawaii, far from the rolling green lawns and wood paneled offices of New England or Oxbridge. Molly longs for working air conditioning. She sits on a yoga ball because there is no budget for office furniture. Her dean, unwilling to lose paying customers, won’t let her report cheating students. Campus administration will kowtow to any potential donor, even the rapacious Jimmy Tanaka, for whom bulldozing a beloved historic landmark is all in a day’s work.
And while money is in short supply, administrators with “innovative” directives are not.
A few weeks after the Student Retention Office remodel was finished, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Engagement attended an ed-tech conference. Upon his return, we were directed to record our class sessions and post them online, so that students could watch them at their leisure. The problem was that we were “guides on the side” now, and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Engagement didn’t want to post hour-long videos of students sitting in circles talking. So we all had to go back to being “sages on the stage,” lecturing to the video camera, but this time we were cautioned to act as “facilitators of experience” rather than “providers of knowledge.” We’re still stuck with the immovable round tables.
Of course all people and events in The Musubi Murder are fictional, albeit inspired by real-life events. Like Molly Barda, I teach at a public university. Unlike my protagonist, I am blessed with delightful students, sane colleagues, a loving family, and a perfectly nice office chair.
The second book in the Molly Barda series, Molly Barda and the Cursed Canoe, is scheduled for 2016, and I’m currently working on a short story for a benefit anthology.
About The Author
Like Molly Barda, Frankie Bow teaches at a public university. Unlike her protagonist, she is blessed with delightful students, sane colleagues, a loving family, and a perfectly nice office chair. She believes if life isn’t fair, at least it can be entertaining.
In addition to writing murder mysteries, she publishes in scholarly journals under her real name. Her experience with academic publishing has taught her to take nothing personally.
Visit her at frankiebow.com
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The Musubi Murder
Setting – Hawaii
Publisher: Five Star (August 5, 2015)
E-Book ASIN: B011M7EQ9U
In the remote college town of Mahina, Hawaii, Molly Barda just wants to stay out of trouble until she gets tenure, but there’s a problem. A grisly prank targeting a controversial donor puts her college in financial jeopardy. Molly’s hapless ex is implicated, and Molly soon finds herself neck-deep in a stew of corruption, revenge, and murder. Along the way, she finds herself drawn to a local fast-food entrepreneur, the too-good-to-be-true Donnie Gonsalves, who seems to like her for all the wrong reasons–and has a few secrets of his own.
In The Musubi Murder we meet Molly Barda, and her friends, Emma Nakamura and Patrick Flanagan. They are college professors in Mahina, Hawaii. The College of Commerce has budget issues and is literally falling apart around them. I am reading this book just after the Governor of my fine state of Wisconsin has cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of out college system. I hope and pray it doesn’t end of like the college in this story. Jimmy Tanaka, founder of Merrie Musubis, and a man with a shady background, has promised a huge donation to the school but he fails to show up at a breakfast in his honor. Or a least that is what everyone thought. He is there in a way, a way that leads to a murder investigation and Mollie finds herself heavily involved. She is also just starting a relationship with Donnie Gonsalves, but he seems to be a man with many secrets.
Not knowing anything about musubi (pronounced moo-soo-BEE) the title was a big draw and when I found they were sandwiches that could be made with SPAM, a childhood favorite, I knew I had to read this story.
Frankie Bow has laid the groundwork for a promising mysteries series in addition to giving a very intriguing whodunit that includes not only a bit of revenge but corruption too. I found the characters to be very well developed and the backdrop of college politics very interesting. The humor interspersed throughout the story made it even more enjoyable. How can you go wrong with a setting in Hawaii? A great place I have always wanted to visit.
The author has many more installments planned and I am looking forward to them.
Book 2: Molly Barda and the Cursed Canoe
Book 3: Molly Barda and the Black Thumb
Book 4: Molly Barda and the Invasive Species
Book 5: Molly Barda and the Blessed Event
Book 0: The Defunct Adjunct
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August 5 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too ! – Spotlight
August 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Cozy Wednesday
August 6 – Lilac Reviews – Review
August 7 – Jane Reads – Review, Guest Post
August 8 – dru’s book musings – Guest Post
August 9 – Book Splurge – Review, Interview
August 10 – Bea’s Book Nook – Review
August 11 – Hobby Lady – Spotlight
August 11 – Laura’s Interests – Review
August 12 – readalot – Review
August 13 – View from the Birdhouse – Spotlight
August 14 – deal sharing aunt – Interview
August 15 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
August 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
August 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – Spotlight
August 18 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Guest Post
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”