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Kate Fansler Books In Order

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Publication Order of Kate Fansler Books

In the Last Analysis (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The James Joyce Murder (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Poetic Justice (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Theban Mysteries (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Question of Max (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death in a Tenured Position (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sweet Death, Kind Death (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
No Word From Winifred (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Players Come Again (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Imperfect Spy (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Trap for Fools (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Puzzled Heart (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Honest Doubt (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Edge of Doom (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

The Kate Fansler series of mystery novels was written by Carolyn Gold Heilbrun, a writer who wrote the stories under the pen name Amanda Cross. She held a doctorate from Columbia University and was an instructor who received tenure from the school as she was an instructor there.

She started writing mystery novels in the Kate Fansler series in the 1960s. She used the Amanda Cross pen name as a means of keeping her identity secret. This was to ensure that she would not be spotted as she wanted to keep her career at Columbia. She continued to work at Columbia in a number of positions even after her identity as the writer of the series was discovered. Overall, she wrote fifteen books in the Kate Fansler series from 1964 up until shortly before her death in 2003.

Much of her work focused on the inspirational female figures. She wrote about the evolution of the woman’s role in literature and English over the years and even wrote a biography on iconic feminist Gloria Steinem. But it was through her Kate Fansler series that she became famous as she focused her work on a powerful woman who always worked to find the culprit with her intuition and careful sense.

About the Series

The Kate Fansler series of novels is about the titular English literature professor. She worked at a prominent university in New York just like what Heilbrun did. Fansler was often called to find answers to mysteries that had different academic contexts. Many of her adventures involved the murders of students or instructors in the academic field.

Much of Fansler’s work is handled through the extensive conversations that she has with people. She focuses on various conversations to find what makes people tick and to explore their motivations. This is different from other similar detectives who had used their own cunning and adventurous activities to find answers to many mysteries. Some of the work especially focuses on many feminist concepts including various looks into what prompts men to try and get power for themselves and their fear of women.

Fansler often worked alongside Reed Amhearst, a district attorney that she fell for. The two got married midway through the series although Fansler always insisted that she would be an independent woman, a point that she continued to work with even after she was married. Later in the series, she especially became reflective of her work and thought about how middle and later years in one’s life cause a person to make real changes. Some of the discussions Fansler had revealed her belief of how death may be a factor that frees the person from the pains of old age; this might have been predictive of Heilbrun’s suicide in 2003 and how she once thought openly about committing suicide after turning seventy.

Prominent Books

In the Last Analysis (1964)

The first book in the Kate Fansler series is In the Last Analysis. In this story, Kate sends a friend to a psychiatrist. Soon after, that woman is found stabbed to death on the psychiatrist’s couch. The fingerprints on the murder weapon proved Kate’s worst fears as to who could have caused the murder. This leads to an inspection to try and find what could have happened. As she sees during her investigation, not everything involved is quite as it seems in this case.

The James Joyce Murder (1967)

Kate travels out to the Berkshires for a good time out in this study. She goes around to learn about how Henry James and his many letters. As many people in the literature field meet up in the Berkshires, everything is relaxing until a neighbor is suddenly murdered. With the houseguests seen as the key suspects in this case, there is a close analysis of what could have happened as there is a great deal of suspicion all around in terms of what went on.

Death in a Tenured Position (1981)

This story is about a woman who became the first woman to be a professor at the iconic English department at Harvard. The men at Harvard were not all that happy about her getting into this position. Soon, that woman’s tea is spiked as she is found on the floor. Kate, a good friend of the processor, heads out to find who could have committed the crime. But as things change in the case, it becomes harder for her to try and figure out why someone could have committed the crime. This is one of the most prominent novels in the series as it won the Nero Award that year from the Wolfe Pack organization.

An Imperfect Spy (1995)

Kate is teaching at a prominent law school as a guest when she meets an intriguing secretary who likes to pattern herself after George Smiley, the famed spy character created by John le Carre. That secretary reveals that there are a number of secret mysteries around the school including points about a woman who taught at the school who killed her husband and one woman who was a tenured professor who suffered a serious fate. This pairs with many concerns about the male-dominant faculty at the school and the sense of male power that they feel. The story brings Kate into a search for the truth even as many of the men at the school are doing what it takes to keep the school from being influenced by feminist thought.

The Edge of Doom (2002)

The last story in the Kate Fansler series is the Edge of Doom, a story that delves into the personal life of the titular character. Kate always felt that she was more of an independent thinker and that she always had a different attitude over what the other people in her family were like. But one day a mysterious man who claims to be her real father comes to her office. The man appears to be trying to get closer to Kate and is often convincing but the many revelations that come about in the story create a strong sense of uncertainty over who could be right or wrong.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Kate Fansler

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