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Amanda Cross Books In Order

Publication Order of Kate Fansler Books

In the Last Analysis (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The James Joyce Murder (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Poetic Justice (1970) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Theban Mysteries (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Question of Max (1976) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death in a Tenured Position (1981) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sweet Death, Kind Death (1984) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
No Word From Winifred (1986) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Players Come Again (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
An Imperfect Spy (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Trap for Fools (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Puzzled Heart (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Honest Doubt (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Edge of Doom (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Amanda Cross, real name Carolyn Gold Heilbrun was an American author and academic who was best known for writing feminist and mystery novels under the pseudonym Amanda Cross. Cross went to Columbia University where she studied English literature getting her Master of Arts degree in 1951 and in 1951 a Ph.D. At Columbia, she studied under Lionel Trilling and Jacques Barzun and listed Clifton Fadiman as one of her greatest inspirations. Some of her experiences at Columbia were documented in the 2002 book “When Men Were the Only Models We Had: My Teachers Barzun, Fadiman, Trilling”. Cross went on to teach English at Columbia for over three decades between 1960 and 1992, becoming the first tenured woman in the university’s English department. She was a specialist in British modern literature, particularly focusing on the Bloomsbury Group. She wrote several academic titles focusing on feminist themes and was a co-founder and co-editor of the Columbia University Press together with colleague and friend Nancy K. Miller. As editor, she was responsible for the publication of “Press Gender and Culture” series. In the seven years between 1985 and 1992, she served as Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities Department at Columbia.

Amanda Cross was born to Estelle Gold and Archibald Gold in East Orange, New Jersey. Her family would move to Upper West Side Manhattan, where she spent most of her childhood. After her high school, she joined Wellesley College graduating top of her class in 1947. She would get married to James Heilbrun her college sweetheart, with whom she had three children before completing her masters and doctorates at Columbia. On October 2003, Cross took her own life by taking an overdose of pills after finishing her writing, reading, and walking around Central Park routine. Even though she took her own life, friends and family described her as a happy and healthy woman. However, she wrote and had conversations with friends about committing suicide at age 70, before she opted to write about aging gracefully that was published in 1997. Even though Cross was known as a devoted feminist, she was never estranged from her husband or lonely in any way. She asserted that her marriage was her rock during her career and hence dedicated “Where Men Were the Only Models We Had” her last novel to her most influential male role models.

Even as she became popular for the writing of mysteries later in life, she was best known for authoring several scholarly works and many articles interpreting women’s literature from her the feminist view. Her heroine in the A Kate Fansler Mystery Series is a mirror image of Cross as she is a feminist and a professor of literature. The novels are detective mysteries featuring an amateur sleuth who digs through clues, some of which are found in literary texts to find the motivation of a killer. The novels were well-received with their intricate plots and social commentaries receiving much critical acclaim. Some themes that resonated with readers include the struggle for independence, interpersonal relationships, and changing social positions. The novels are a scathing indictment of unnecessary politics in academia, unflattering portraits of professors, and the pretensions of Ivy League schools. The novels have been compared to the works of George Bernard Shaw or Oscar Wilde, particularly with regard to the intellectual talk and satiric wit. For her most ardent fans, the novels have been compared to Dorothy L. Sayers fun novels. With so much popularity and critical acclaim the first novel in the series, “In the Last Analysis” made the shortlist for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award.

Heilbrun published the fourteen Kate Fansler mysteries by the pseudonym of Amanda Cross and always lived in fear of being found out in case she won an award for her novels. Nonetheless, Amanda managed to keep her academic career separate from her mystery-writing career, before a fan found out her real identity when she dug through her copyright records. Even as most of the novels are in academic settings, Amanda Cross analyzed several other aspects including political and social themes, women’s friendship, politics in academia, and feminism. One of her most popular novels set in 1981 Harvard that was titled “Death in a Tenured Position” gave the institution scathing criticism, particularly on its treatment of women. Cross’s novels were translated into Italian, Spanish, Finnish, Swedish, French, German, and Japanese and sold more than a million copies all over the globe.

“In The Last Analysis” is the first novel in the series and Amanda Cross’s debut into mystery novel writing. The novel introduces the erudite, witty, and young professor of literature Kate Fansler the lead in the series. When Kate Fansler an English professor recommends her friend Dr. Emmanuel Bauer as one of the top psychoanalyst that her student Janet Harrison should see, she never expects the girl to turn up dead. A few weeks after her recommendation, Janet is found stabbed to death in the doctor’s office, with the murder weapon full of Emmanuel’s fingerprints. Despite the overwhelming evidence, Kate does not believe that the doctor could have it in him to kill anyone, but proving him innocent is going to be an uphill task. The girl had no family, lover, or friends making it almost impossible to determine the motivations of a killer. Turning on her sleuthing skills, Kate will leave no stone unturned even in the face of a vicious killer who threatens to kill again.

“Poetic Justice”, the third novel in the series is set in the riot years of New York University. Kate Fansler is a professor of English at New York City University. With the riots getting out of hand, University College the campus where she teaches is in danger of being shut down for leading the unrest. The snobbish president Jeremiah Cudlipp has rallied a group of sycophantic professors determined to shut down the plebeian stepchild and deal once and for all with its rebellious faculty. In a fight to the death, only a miracle or maybe a murder will save the college and its professors from the cabal hell bent on shutting them down. Things go haywire when the president turns up dead with the finger of suspicion pointed at Fansler and her colleagues. It is now up to Kate to find out just who may have had the motive and guts to commit such a crime.

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