An Imperfect Spy
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"FASCINATING . . . The dialogue is, as always, elegant and polished."
--Los Angeles Times
While guest-teaching a semester at Schuyler Law School, Kate Fansler gets to know an extraordinary secretary named Harriet, who patterns her life after John le Carré's character George Smiley. Harriet reveals that Schuyler has some serious skeletons swinging in its perfectly appointed closets, including the fate of Schuyler's only tenured female professor and a faculty wife who has killed her husband. As if Kate doesn't have enough to tackle, she is also up against the men who comprise the faculty of Schuyler itself--a thoroughly unapologetic bastion of white male power, mediocrity, and misogyny. Although she has only a few months on campus, Kate refuses to let Schuyler's rigid ideals and insistence on secrecy suppress her indefatigable curiosity--or her obsession with the truth. . . .
"Cross manages to keep this book as lighthearted and witty as any of the Kate Fansler mysteries, while depicting an institution as lethal as any cold war."
"A funny, snappish polemic on political correctitude that takes great relish in Kate's sardonic views."
--The New York Times Book Review
From the Paperback edition.
twist of the law, though she thought she could guess. “And how do you like the company of lawyers?” Slade asked. “Or are you, because of your lawyer husband, quite used to having us around?” “I’m not used to it,” Kate said, “and I welcome the opportunity to talk about law instead of literature. Would you mind if I asked you some lawyerly questions? Blair did say you teach Criminal Law.” “Like your husband. Surely you can’t have any questions you couldn’t ask him?” That was a facer. “Well,”
American’s right to carry an unlicensed handgun.” “My god, Blair, what have we got into, me and Reed? How did you ever decide to join this mob in the first place?” “I wanted to be in New York, a city I love. Of course, as you realize, I had no idea what I was getting into. So, instead of leaving, I decided to bore from within. Hence you and Reed.” The dean was concluding his remarks to enthusiastic applause. All raised their glasses to drink to their fine school. Kate thought there was a
year, it seemed to her portentously coincidental that it had begun with her thinking of le Carré’s George Smiley, whose final adventures against his Soviet enemy Karla she had just been reading. A sentence about Smiley had echoed in her mind as she made her reluctant way toward her old school to deliver a lecture. The school’s invitation was one to which she had found no suitable words of refusal. It was then she thought of Smiley: “With dismal foreboding, Smiley agreed on a date. After a
faced on the square of a small New Hampshire village. There was a church, a graveyard, a common, and one or two other houses. Kate knocked at the door of the wrong house before having the right one pointed out to her. Rosenbusch did not respond to a knock on his front door, and Kate finally trailed around to the back to find him, or at least a man, clearing bushes at the edge of his back field. “I’m looking for Charles Rosenbusch,” Kate called out, after her hello had made him raise his head. He
less a lady than your mother, or her mother, and so on back through the generations. I’ve no doubt of that. You haven’t got children, you don’t indulge in social rituals, and you take personal and professional risks. But the risks are all within the confines of the acceptable. Just outside those confines are a lot of folks who don’t play by any rules you would recognize, let alone condone. You have a job with tenure; there’s no way they can take it away from you, however much they would like to.