Across the Page: Elaine Beale, Elizabeth Streb, Anne Laughlin

 Veritas by Anne Laughlin (Bold Strokes Books)

Anne Laughlin’s Veritas is a gripping murder mystery packed with suspense and intrigue. Set on the campus of Grafton College, the novel opens as Dean Beth Ellis meets with the new president of the college—"an occupying force, a foreigner without any respect for the society he’d conquered." When he asks her to get behind supporting an unpopular professor for tenure, Beth is both confused and angry.

Though Beth is passionate about Grafton and thinks of the faculty and students as family, she knows that she has to abide by the president’s demands. When the fight for tenure ends in murder, however, Beth’s entire perspective of the college — its politics, culture and members — is challenged.

To complicate matters, Beth begins to fall for Chief of Police, Sally Sullivan, who is investigating the murder. Sally used to work for the Chicago homicide division and as she tries to navigate the new territory of a small town police department and community, she hits upon more obstacles than expected, especially when the college experiences a second murder.

Veritas is a quick read, but a fulfilling story. Laughlin’s prose is natural and engaging whether she’s writing about the politics of academia, Beth and Sally’s multilayered romance, or the intricacies of a murder mystery. Named a Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging Writer in 2008, Veritas proves Laughlin worthy of the honor.

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