Georgina Fletcher is a Scottish academic, a sensible woman troubled in the weeks before her seemingly natural death by knowledge of some unpleasantness in her family's history and a strong desire to make amends for the misdeeds of her forbears. When a former student of American archivist Ben Reese inherits Georgina's estate, she asks him to help her solve the professor's mystery so that she can carry out Georgina's wishes. Ben's investigation turns up several likely suspects in Georgina's demise, and the secret of how she was killed. Along the way, the reader is treated to descriptions and explanations of matters as far-ranging as falconry, stone-sculpting, microbiology, and rare book collecting.
A relatively bloodless cozy with pacing as slow as a country stroll, Pursuit and Persuasion presents the petty rivalries of academia nicely. Ben Reese, whose background as a World War II scout provides enough of a provenance to put him in the detecting business, is an interesting protagonist who warrants a fuller portrayal. --Jane Adams
"...I have reason to believe that my death was desired, planned and perpetrated with great care and deliberation. Even if I am right, the circumstances of my death will appear to have been brought about by natural causes..."
Georgina is anything but a fool, and it happens just as she'd feared. She's also punctilious and ethical, and won't name the person she suspects. Her assumptions are based on speculation, and she refuses to risk condemning any innocent person. She asks instead that her heir, Ellen Winter, hire a detective to investigate her death, free of her own prejudices.
Ellen is one of Ben Reese's archival apprentices at Alderton University, so she knows he's an ex-World War II Scout who's solved other murder cases and is in Scotland on sabbatical. She'd much rather ask Ben to help than use some unknown detective.