You really have to pay attention when reading New England White (2007) by Stephen L. Carter. This is a suspense novel with a compelling and hard to predict story line, but it is also forces you to think through the complexities of politics and race while you are trying to unravel the murder. Set in a small New England town, the lead character Julia Carlyle is an associate dean of a divinity school within the University of which her husband Lemaster Carlyle is the President. Together they happen upon the dead body of a professor named Kellen Zant. This begins a complicated plot line, with complicated relationships between the characters, as well as political intrigue.
The novel is a little too long and could have done with some editing, there were some unnecessary characters to the plot and other characters that could have been further developed to make the twists and turns a little more plausible. I still don't really "get" where Julia's Mothers character was necessary...
However, I learned after I read this novel that that the Carlyles were lesser characters in Carter's novel The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002). Maybe some of the lesser characters of New England White that I found unnecessary will appear in later novels.
I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it. I will go back and read The Emperor of Ocean Park.