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Deader Homes and Gardens (Claire Malloy #18)

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  777 Ratings  ·  127 Reviews
Deader Homes and Gardens

Joan Hess

Now that she's back from her honeymoon, Claire Malloy must face the reality of her home life: It's too close for comfort. A two-bedroom apartment is a formula for disaster for her new husband, Police Chief Peter Rosen, and her teenage daughter, Caron. Time to go house hunting—before they all kill each other. Figuratively speaking, of course
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 24th 2012 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published February 1st 2012)
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Lynne Tull
Apr 09, 2012 Lynne Tull rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
If I remember correctly, I had decided not to read any more "Claire Malloy" mysteries. However, I read the book jacket and thought I would give them another chance. It seems that Claire has married her long time 'friend' Police Chief Peter Rosen. I thought perhaps Ms. Hess was going to let the marriage segue into this series with Chief Rosen as the main character. least for this book. I was still subjected to Ms. Malloy's annoying, interfering style in order to solve a mystery that re ...more
Apr 13, 2012 Barbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-cozy
Okay - now I remember why I stopped reading this series. Claire Mallory is so self-absorbed, so self-centered and so full of her herself, she gets unbearable after awhile. I'm sure this is supposed to be tough in cheek and funny, but it doesn't come off that way; at least not to me.

She also seems to think she is better at investigating murders than the police; even though her new husband is a police official. (I guess she is in a sense - this is a series about her.) The police don't have the sa
Apr 02, 2012 Lain rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am just not so thrilled about these recent entries in the Claire Malloy series. In this, Claire is recently married and in search of a larger domicile for her, new husband (and deputy chief) Peter Rosen, and daughter Caron. Claire falls in love with a house in a secluded valley inhabited by a nutty extended family, the Hollows. But before she can put an offer down, her real estate agent disappears.

The rest of the book involves a twisted and turning plot and various revelations. This has to be
Jul 06, 2012 Carla rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although I'm not a huge fan of the Claire Malloy books, they've always held my interest. The author's attempts at humor aren't to my taste, and I find the sleuth's teenager daughter totally irritating but the mysteries are usually diverting. However, I do not read cozy mysteries to be taught social justice lessons by a liberal author.
Oct 07, 2012 Marti rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why is it that certain writers employ the wife of a policeman sleuth ploy? This is the first of this series that I have read--got it at the bookmobile--and probably won't pick this author again. This character, Claire Malloy is quite an annoying person about which to read. She is self centered and seems to think that everyone should do what she wants. On page 77--"I was increasingly annoyed by people's inability to remain where I wanted them to be. First Angela, then Terry, and now Nattie had ta ...more
Thomas Bruso
May 31, 2014 Thomas Bruso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joan Hess's spirited 18th Claire Malloy mystery, "Deader Homes and Gardens" is a cut- above most cozy mysteries.

Back on her home turf in Farberville, Arkansas, busybody bookshop owner, on-the-side amateur sleuth and newlywed wife, Claire Malloy, along with incessant nitpicker/daughter, Caron, and handsome, hardworking hubby/police chief, Peter Rosen, are all on the trail for a new house--and a few dead bodies.

Along the lines of Hess's sprightly "The Goodbye Body", the new Claire Malloy mystery o
Sep 18, 2016 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cannot-finish
Another book so bad, I cannot even stomach it for any reason. It started out funny, and there was hope. The interaction with the main characters teenage daughter was hilarious, as it reminded me of living and dealing with my own teenagers at times. That was not enough to redeem the story further on as it progressed. An Insipid, silly, and off of the mystery subject "Down the Rabbit Hole" so called, "Mystery." It reminds me of mashed potatoes at a potluck long ago. You thought you were getting po ...more
Jul 29, 2012 Elaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hess is a decent writer to return to now and then...her characters are predictable and the plot is easy, though I think this book was about 50-75 pages too long. I miss Claire being in the book store and wish Hess would write this series a bit more so I can return to it more often, but this seems to be "when she has time". It's a quick read with little demanding of the reader with some interesting characters, but they really have the "been there done that" feel if you are a reader.
Oct 05, 2014 Doris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had decided after forcing myself to wade through the Egypt adventure that I was not going to read any more "Claire Malloy" mysteries. However, I found this at the library, read the book jacket and thought that I would give the series one more chance. Oops.

Here, Claire and her new husband Peter Rosen (they were on honeymoon in Egypt) are searching for a home, as neither his place nor hers is big enough.

As Claire finds the perfect house, things begin to go wrong, first with the realtor disappear
Tom Donaghey
Jun 07, 2015 Tom Donaghey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humour, comedy
DEADER HOMES AND GARDENS by Joan Hess is yet another in a fine line of comic mysteries. Claire Malloy, just back from their honeymoon, is looking for a home she can share with new husband Police Chief Peter Rosen and her daughter Karen. After fruitless searching, her real estate agent suggests a place that isn’t on the market yet but soon might be.
Of course it is the perfect home of Claire’s dreams. And of course murder soon follows.
The agent, who is in the middle of a messy divorce, goes mis
Feb 09, 2013 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a fan of cozy mysteries, Joan Hess has two very entertaining series - the Claire Malloy series, which takes place in "Farberville," Arkansas, a fictional college town, and the Maggody series, with female sheriff Arly Hanks. I love both series, and have read them all. I recommend starting with the first one and just keeping on, but they do stand on their own, as well. Either way, enjoy!
Nov 10, 2013 Melanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have read most of this series. I have enjoyed most of them but this one is my least favorite. Claire Malloy is so pushy and annoying in this book that I started disliking her by the second chapter. The whole plot just seemed forced. Not sure if I'll be buying another Claire Malloy mystery -- maybe a library checkout.
Jul 07, 2012 Jane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It has been a while since I've read anything in the Claire Malloy series. Now I remember why. What an annoying woman.
Mar 30, 2015 Grey853 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, cozy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dorothy Faulk
This is the first book in the series I have read. I enjoyed the light humorous dialogue and the murder was well plotted. I didn't fall in love with the protagonist's. When I get hooked on a series, it's usually because I enjoy spending time with the main character. I just didn't like Claire Malloy. I found her irritatingly self congratulatory and egotistical. People like that are a bore in person and I don't want to spend time with them privately. I was disappointed; I wanted to like the book mo ...more
Reggie Billingsworth
I think I agree with others at advising that readers give this one a 'miss'.

While her married status has not improved Claire's sense of self-preservation, Caron and Inez have grown up more, yet are just as solidly in their stereotypes with the total absence of the cop-husband a highly convenient coincidence.

The protagonist is cringe-ily embarrassing in her expectation that all should step to her demands, even though I realise much of this attitude is deliberate on the author's part for comic eff
Alannah Davis
Jan 27, 2013 Alannah Davis rated it really liked it
In #18 of the series, Claire Malloy has returned from her honeymoon to find that the apartment she shares with her teenaged daughter, Caron, has become too small now that a husband has been added. Afted some house-hunting, she finds the perfect house. Unfortunately, her real estate agent disappears in the middle of the showing. In her quest to obtain her dream home, Claire gets involved with her would-be neighbors in Hollow Valley.

The quirky cast of characters and the intricate storyline kept me
Jun 24, 2012 Saadia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written tongue-in-cheek yet believable thriller.
I liked her literate style and yet very funny way of putting words together. Her creative descriptive style is often worth a chuckle of amused recognition.

The plot starts with a lovely house available for sale in an idyllic valley owned by descendants of a local family. The previous owner died. The surviving owner dies from poison in his vodka. The real estate agent disappears and is found dead.

Ms. Malloy, the eager house buyer, is very
Feb 05, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My book interview with her is here:

It's worth reading - the interview and the book

I'm interviewing Joan for this, which should be interesting because she's a friend and someone I play backgammon with every Monday and sometimes drive to the backgammon tournaments. But i'll try to be as objective as need be while admitting my personal bias.

Ironically I interviewed her once before 15 or so years ago when I was still a newspaper reporter and we were both in f
Dec 05, 2012 Ann rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Claire Malloy is now married to Deputy Chief Peter Rosen. They are house hunting. Claire finds the perfect house but her real estate agent disappeared and then the owner dies after he agrees to sell the house to her. Of course, as in almost all of Joan Hess's books, there is a whole group of weird and wacky people around. She decides that she will get her house and solve the mystery. This is another case of a nosy woman who does things that would make sure that anyone she accused of a crime woul ...more
Diane Majeske
Home from her honeymoon, living in a cramped apartment with her handsome new husband and snarky teen-age daughter, Claire Malloy longs for a home of her own.

Not just any home, mind you. A big, beautiful house with a garden, a porch and room to breathe. She finds one, too - only that's when things start going wrong. The real estate agent disappears, leaving her stranded on the property. And when Claire hunts down the closest thing to an owner, he practically collapses at her feet.

But that's only
Claire Malloy is one of my favorite cozy characters. Joan Hess is really great at making murder a laugh out loud event! In this edition, Claire has married Peter, member of the local police department, who also works with the FBI, son of a wealthy New England family. The two of them plus her teenage daughter, Caron, are all crammed into a 2 bedroom apartment above Claire's bookstore. Claire starts looking at houses with an agent. However nothing suits until the agent, Angela, tells her about an ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
This was a delightful read. The Claire Malloy series is always a joy to read.

Claire is married and finding her flat just too small for herself, her new husband, and her teenaged (almost college-aged)daughter, Caron. Solution? A new house and preferably one already built and ready to move into.

As these things happen, Claire's realtor, Angela, finds the best house ever. There are some legal issues to solve, but, it is the one! As Claire dreams through the house, Angela drives off and leaves her st
Teresa Scott
This is the first book I read by this author, and of course it is a part of the a series and I did not start at the beginning. I was able to guess who the killer was before it unfolded in the book. I would read the first couple of books in the series before I read another one. I believe there were a few things about the sleuth's family that was mentioned in the prior books that would have help me understand some of the relationships amongst the characters.
Dec 20, 2013 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio version of this book. It was a decent story and I didn't figure out who the murderer was before it was unveiled. But I guess I am just tired of cozy mysteries. Claire Malloy apparently owns a book store, but never works there yet is able to afford a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with an in-ground pool. Interesting....She also has some interactions with the reference librarian at her local library and says that the librarian was obviously annoyed with Claire's lack of computer sa ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read several of Hess' Maggody books and I would definitely prefer them to the Claire Malloy mysteries. The stories are still really good but the characters are thoroughly unlikeable including Malloy herself. All in the quest to acquire a house she has fallen in love with. In the process she meddles in affairs that do not concern her, she also bosses the police around and breaks several laws.
Feb 18, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joan Hess is one of my favorite mystery writers. In this book, after recently getting married, Clair is house hunting for the perfect home. When she finds one, it comes with a murderous family and mysterious disappearances. She is forced to step in and solve the case, in hopes of getting the perfect home. Joan Hess always has plenty of humorous characters in her mysteries. This book is from the series is about Clair Malloy, a bookstore owner that has a penchant for getting involved in murders an ...more
library goddess
This is your typical Claire Malloy mystery. I like these books but the way that Claire and Claire alone can solve the case is annoying. The author makes the police look inept and the main character appears to be the only one with a brain. And everything ties neatly together very quickly in the end...not a loose end in sight. I will probably read more in the series but I'm sure they will not be memorable.
Going against character and reading a book out of order in its series; staying in character and enjoying a Joan Hess book. There's just something comfortable and enjoyable about her characters and their storylines. I'd recommend the Claire Malloy books and especially the Maggody series, which are super funny.
Sandy Weir
Jan 16, 2014 Sandy Weir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here we have Claire and Peter finally married and back from the honeymoon! But Peter is gone almost during the whole story, so he provides resources for our female sleuth (which of course everyone is glad about), but does not come into the dialog much. Perhaps it is for the best. Caron and Inez support the story nicely. One little thing that worried me was Claire, Peter, and Caron living in the "new" neighborhood.. who would want the residual neighbors? I am hoping that meadow and woods are huge ...more
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Joan Hess is the author of both the Claire Malloy and the Maggody mystery series. She is a winner of the American Mystery Award, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Joan Hess also writes a mystery series under the pseudonym of Joan Hadley.

Series contributed to:
. Crosswinds
. The Year's 25 Finest Crime and Mys
More about Joan Hess...

Other Books in the Series

Claire Malloy (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Strangled Prose (Claire Malloy, #1)
  • The Murder at the Murder at the Mimosa Inn (Claire Malloy, #2)
  • Dear Miss Demeanor (Claire Malloy, #3)
  • A Really Cute Corpse (Claire Malloy, #4)
  • A Diet to Die For (Claire Malloy, #5)
  • Roll Over and Play Dead (Claire Malloy, #6)
  • Death by the Light of the Moon (Claire Malloy, #7)
  • Poisoned Pins (Claire Malloy, #8)
  • Tickled to Death (Claire Malloy, #9)
  • Busy Bodies (Claire Malloy, #10)

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