When the classical scholar, Phineas Ort, Bogus U.'s first choice for president, disappears, the search committee, persuaded that its university, like most others, is a gangster operation, decides to recruit a hit man to keep the fractious faculty in line. Phineas has been abducted by the Robaccia gang, which is intent on installing its own candidate in the president's office to cash in on Bogus U.'s well-known corruption. Christy Mahon, a former member of the Robaccio gang, now on the lam for having crossed its boss, Brooklyn Benny, has landed a job at Bogus U. as a janitor. Listening through a heating vent, he overhears the search committee's deliberations and interviews for the job. How he wins it is deliciously funny. Other adventures include sexual hanky-panky among university officials, payoffs, academic fraud, and illegal deals between the U. and contractors. Is Christy up to all of these challenges?
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