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Orange Crushed: An Ivy League Mystery (Ivy League Mysteries) [Hardcover]

Pamela Thomas-Graham


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Book Description

21 Jun 2004 Ivy League Mysteries
Pamela Thomas-Graham's beguiling and atmospheric Ivy League novels simmer with hot button issues -- and unveil layers of malice and murder inside the life academic. Harvard economics professor Nikki Chase is intent on becoming the first tenured African-American woman in her department. But with her affinity for solving crimes, she may make her name in a place where the highest levels of human intellect can court the lowest impulses of the human heart. PUBLISH OR PERISH A working weekend at a Princeton conference is just what Nikki needs to deflect the pre-holiday pressures -- both professional and personal -- that are closing in on her back in Cambridge. And there will be down time, too, at a party honoring professor Earl Stokes, her old friend and mentor. Rumors abound that Stokes, a Princeton superstar, may depart for Harvard, a change that would stir up as much controversy as his new bestselling book on race issues. When Stokes's body is discovered among the smoldering ruins of the not-yet-completed black-studies building, a shattered Nikki refuses to accept the police findings that the death was accidental. And among the ashes she will uncover a murderous agenda with ominous implications for not only the Princeton campus but Harvard as well.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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"Her scenes of academe's turf, gender, racial, and canon politics have the awful clink of truth." -- "The Wall Street Journal" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Pamela Thomas-Graham is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College and a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School. Now president and CEO of CNBC Television, she divides her time between Westchester County and Manhattan. This is her third novel. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Promise unfulfilled 22 Nov 2005
By A. Edmond Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love mystery books, and I especially love mysteries written by black authors, with black protagonists. I've read everything from Walter Mosely's Easy Rawlins to Valerie Wilson Wesley's Tamara Hayle to Barbara Neely's sleuthing domestic Blanche. I also like to welcome new black writers to the mystery genre, such as Ian Smith (The Blackbird Papers). It was in that spirit I read A Darker Shade of Crimson, the first mystery featuring Pamela Thomas Graham's Harvard professor Nikki Chase. I enjoyed this first effort and thought the Ivy League theme had a lot of promise. While I've yet to read Graham's second installment of the series, Blue Blood, I bought the third book, Orange Crushed, with high expectations. I finished the book this morning, and I have to say I was disappointed. Chase never actually solves the mystery at all. Instead, the rest of the book's characters (including a plethora of minor ones) basically hand her the answers, piece by piece. There is a difference between solving a puzzle and filling in all the boxes correctly because other people gave you the answers. Chase does a lot of guessing, speculating and wondering, but she figures absolutely nothing out for herself. As a result, she comes off as bright and involved, but not particularly perceptive, and hardly worthy of the sleuth designation. Since a double-Harvard, ex-Wall Street executive can hardly be expected to have formal training as a criminal investigator, it is crucial that Chase exhibit some natural talent for deductive reasoning, attention to detail, reading people and problem solving. Yet she spent nearly all of the book having literally no clue of what was really going on around her, even with her own baby brother. Read Neely's Blanche series for a more believable "accidental" detective. Also, there are a number of mistakes that pierce the veil of reality every good book creates. For example, there is a reference to the Houston Oilers in a book ostensibly set in the present, i.e. 2004. The NFL's Houston Oilers ceased to be nearly a decade ago (they are now the Tennessee Titans). Again, I think the murder-in-the- Ivy-League premise brims with promise. However, Orange Crushed falls far short of fulfillment of that potential.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kymberly Graves 5 July 2004
By K.A. Graves - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I highly recommend this book. The storyline is intriguing and the characters are wonderfully crafted. It is a first class mystery with all the thrills and chills one has come to expect from the Nikki Chase series. The detailed description of college life at Princeton is richly woven into the story and unveils an inside perspective of the choices available for African-Americans at this esteemed campus. Nikki's opinions of Princeton, carefully steeped in fact, are adeptly contrasted by Eric's (the lead character's brother) reality of the life he has crafted for himself at Princeton. The novel carefully unfolds the different schools of thought on African-American studies and its value to Ivy League institutions. It is an interesting read from start to finish
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent addition to the Ivy League series 3 Sep 2004
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Writer Pamela Thomas-Graham leads two lives. She's a high power executive at CNBC, and she's the author of three successful mysteries. It's no wonder then that the main character of her series of Ivy League novels, Nikki Chase, is also dividing her time: during the day she's a Harvard professor of economics, but in her free time she's solving crimes like a pro. If the author can do, why not the lead character.

Her first book, A DARKER SHADE OF CRIMSON, set at Harvard, introduced Chase. In her second, BLUE BLOOD, Chase solved a Yale-based mystery. Now, ORANGE CRUSHED takes Chase to Princeton, where the plot reads like something right out of the Chronicle of Higher Education: top-ranking professors are being wooed away from one Ivy League to another.

In an effort to boost her lapsing credibility (in the wake of too much time solving mysteries in the previous two books and not enough time pursuing tenure), Chase accepts the invitation of Earl Stokes, a respected colleague, to participate in an academic conference at Princeton. Stokes's reputation as a scholar at the forefront of black studies has made him a hot ticket, and he is about to accept an offer to take a powerful position at Harvard. Before he can, the new building for the Center of Black Studies at Princeton is destroyed in a questionable fire, and Stokes's charred body is found in the remains. The suspects are many: his wife, angered by years of secret infidelities; his estranged son, never spoken of by Stokes; his competition at Harvard; and his competition at Princeton. Embroiled again, Chase, with the help of her brother and a Princeton alum, is on the hunt for Stokes's murderer. And the results of her sleuthing are shocking, to those at Old Nassau and to those in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Like Thomas-Graham herself, Chase is a savvy and well-respected expert in her field. She's a black female working in a world of white males --- and succeeding! Chase is an attractive character in a clever mystery that proves you never really know someone. Well worth the read.

--- Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not her Best 8 Jan 2005
By theresagibson25@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I liked this book, but there was something missing in comparison to the other two in this series. Nikki Chase, the lead character, is a professor at Harvard who keeps finding herself in the middle of murder investigations. The first two books in this series made it totally believable that this could happen to her, but by the time you get to the third book and she's involved in another murder mystery, you almost want to roll your eyes. Why does this keep happening to her?

At any rate, I like the characters and some of the book is extremely funny, but I also got sick of how the plot sort of just dragged along. And there were obvious potential clues that she didn't pursue and this was frustrating. Some things she just let slide by. So in a nutshell, this is a good mystery that went unsolved for too long.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Prowl at Princeton 9 Oct 2004
By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Murder and mayhem seems to follow Veronica "Nikki" Chase wherever she goes. When we first met her, this Harvard economics professor solved a murder on her home campus. Then, she investigated a death on Yale's grounds. In ORANGE CRUSHED, Thomas-Graham's third book in the Ivy League mystery series, Nikki is on the case when her friend and mentor dies at Princeton.

Rumors have been flooding both Harvard and Princeton that Earl Stokes, a noted African-American studies and economics scholar, was on his way to becoming a Harvard department head and leaving his Princeton roots behind. Nonetheless, Earl is the force behind a new African-American Studies building at Princeton that would bring the program abundant success. But Nikki smells a rat in her mentor's midst, and her hunch is confirmed when Earl turns up dead. Nikki sifts through the suspects one by one, searching for motive and opportunity.

Thomas-Graham is fast becoming one of my favorite mystery writers. She injects humor into her stories and into her characters, making Nikki Chase and her crew people who I would love to hang out with. She writes extremely well, with fluidity, grace, and poise. Using Ivy League colleges as a fresh backdrop and an amateur investigator as a sleuth, Thomas-Graham keeps me on the edge of my seat until the end. I'm officially hooked on this series, and I am anxious to see which campus Nikki will leave her mark on next.

Reviewed by CandaceK

of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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