From Publishers Weekly's starred review:
"Set in and around colleges and universities, the 17 new stories and one reprint in this top-notch anthology explore the forbidding side of academia. As Block (the Bernie Rhodenbarr mysteries) notes in his droll introduction, each of the varied, well-told tales is "as individual as fingerprints." Among the standouts are David Morrell's devious "Requiem for a Homecoming," in which two alumni cast suspicion on each other while debating a 20-year-old murder; Ian Rankin's riveting "The Reasoners," concerning the cover-up of a murder at a secret society in an ancient British university; and Reed Farrel Coleman's chilling "An Even Three," about a psychopath at a liberal arts college. Elsewhere, themes veer from rivalry, rape, and survival of the fittest, to plagiarism, academic ghostwriting, and unsavory alternative employment beyond the ivy-covered walls. Creepy oddities include Owen King's tale of heroism, "That Golden Way," A.J. Hartley's supernatural "Rounded with a Sleep," and Jane Hamilton's superlative "Writing Maeve Dubinsky," about the appropriation of another person's work. Crime fiction fans won't want to miss this exemplary compilation."
Booklist's starred review by Connie Fletcher:
Mystery maven Block, author of multiple series (including one starring private eye Matthew Scudder and another featuring burglar-bookseller Bernie Rhodenbarr), is also the winner of an Edgar and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Here, wearing his editor's hat, he assembles a collection of 18 short stories set in the often-fraught world of academia. The authors included, many of them well known, such as Ian Rankin, John Lescroart, and Peter Lovesey, take full advantage of campus scenery, in all its tree-filled, neo-Gothic glory. They also exploit the seething resentments and strange office politics of faculty and the power imbalances between faculty and students. For example, David Morrell's "Requiem for a Homecoming" uses a conversation between two alums about the fatal stabbing of a female student 20 years before to set up a wallop of a reveal. Other highlights include Reed Farrel Coleman's "An Even Three," which stars a bitter and possibly homicidal professor, and Ian Rankin's "The Reasoners," which showcases an eerie secret society. Readers who want more in this vein should check out the late Amanda Cross' academic mysteries as well as Julie Schumacher's Dear Committee Members (2014) and The Shakespeare Requirement (2018). An outstanding anthology.
From the Subterranean Press announcement of their deluxe limited edition:
"In recent years, colleges and universities have become known for their "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces"but as the 18 authors who penned stories for this powerful new anthology can tell you, there's plenty of danger still lurking behind the stolid stonework, leather-bound volumes, and thickets of ivy. Award-winning editor Lawrence Block has assembled a Who's Who of literary luminaries and turned them loose on the world of academia, where petty rivalries and grand betrayals inflame relations between professors and students, deans and donors. From Ian Rankin to Joe Lansdale, Seanan McGuire to David Morrell, each author reveals the dark truths and buried secrets that make institutions of higher learning such a hotbed of controversy. You'll encounter plagiarism, sexual misconduct, and brutal competitionnot to mention secret societies, cover-ups of murder, and one near-future course of study that makes The Handmaid's Tale look like Mother Goose. So: collect your supplies, plan your schedule, and prepare to pull an all-nighter, because The Darkling Halls of Ivy is required reading.