Amanda Cross, An Imperfect Spy. New York: Ballantine, 1995. Pp. 240. $20.00.

We looked forward with great anticipation to reading An Imperfect Spy, the latest in a series of mysteries written by Amanda Cross, the pseudonym of Carolyn G. Heilbrun, the retired Avalon Foundation Professor of Humanities at Columbia University. The book promised the perfect combination of ingredients for two law professors who enjoy a refreshing literary sorbet in between customarily weightier dishes of law review articles, cases, and other professional writings.

We had every reason to believe that An Imperfect Spy would cleanse our mental palates. First, it is one of many mysteries that feature an engaging yet feisty female protagonist. Kate Fansler, the didactic, scotch-drinking, old-money WASP, feminist literature professor has the special knack of being around whenever people die or have baffling mysteries to solve. Unlike other popular female detectives, Kate solves her cases with her intellect rather than a gun.