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The Malcontenta (Brock & Kolla #2)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  399 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
When the apparent suicide of a young physiotherapist starts to take on more sinister aspects, Detective Sergeant Kathy Kolla jumps at the chance to investigate. Soon, questions arise: is a cover-up taking place to protect the reputations of wealthy clients? Was it really suicide or-murder? Suddenly taken off the case, Kathy turns to Detective Chief Inspector Brock of Scotl ...more
Paperback, 348 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published 1995)
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Mike Gabor
Aug 14, 2013 Mike Gabor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-mystery
DS Kathy Kolla has been seconded to the countryside from the Met. She isn't having an easy time of it as her superior officer doesn't seem to care for her. She is assigned to look into an apparent suicide at a local health resort. She doesn't seem to feel that this was indeed a suicide but her investigation is stopped when her superiors interfer and close the case. In desperation she turns to DCI David Brock and he eventually starts looking into the case on his own time.

This is a very good myste
The last time I read about a naturopathic spa, it was in Thunderball. I guess naturopathic spas are like a thing in mystery novels? Who knew?

In this spa, an employee has been killed and Detective Chief Inspector David Brock goes undercover to the spa where they deprive him of, well, everything in order to release the toxins from his system. There's not as much involving Sergeant Kathy Kolla in this book, which was interesting since the first book, The Marx Sisters, featured her so predominantly.
Ivonne Rovira
Jul 22, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone I can browbeat into readng it!
Recommended to Ivonne by: Magda Cawthorne
Author Barry Maitland simply possesses too much talent. Thanks to him, I completely neglected so much that I had to accomplish over the two days that it took me to devour the 348 pages of The Malcontenta.

The suspense builds from the first few pages. Sergeant Kathy Kolla, physically if not mentally recovered from her experience in The Marx Sisters, visits Detective Chief Inspector David Brock of Scotland Yard at his London home. Kolla, spending a year on special assignment in an unspecified count
Kirsty Darbyshire

[My comments are taken from a mailing list discussion and as such contain spoilers!]

[on the characters]

I may be forgetting something essential but I don't remember there being any recurring characters other than Kolla and Brock.

I thought Brock was better developed in this book because he had a bigger role to play and more of the book was written from his point of view. In _The Marx Sisters_ Brock was quite sketchy and here we learnt more about his past and his home. I think everything here wa

Jan 11, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it
Maitland, Barry. THE MALCONTENTA. (2000). ****. This is a new author for me, but one I will surely read more of. He was born in Scotland, raised in London, and now lives in Australia. He was the recipient of the Ned Kelly Prize for Crime Fiction (Australia’s Edgar equivalent), and was short-listed for the John Creasy Award for Best First Crime Novel. This work features the pair of his series characters, Inspector Brock and Detective Kathy Kolla. This is their second adventure, their first being ...more
Kolla has been loaned out to a village police dept. Her captain there doesn't give her much to do, but sends her out to take care of what seems to be a suicide at a nearby health resort. It turns out to be a homicide and the investigation begins, but then people in law enforcement leadership seem to be impeding the investigation. She appeals to Brock who ends up checking himself in for treatment.

Interesting. A few graphic descriptions, but overall a good police procedural.
Aug 19, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard not to love the mysteries of Barry Maitland with his unfailing attention to detail and making an intricate mystery the center of attention, but with enough problems in the detectives' lives to keep me rooting for them. I didn't enjoy the dated attitudes towards homosexuality, but being as this was written in the mid 90s, perhaps it's a product of the times. This book was impossible to put down.
Paulette Ponte
good mystery. Kolla and Brock are a likable pair of sleuths. There are a lot of twists and turns, some of them probably unnecessary but still enjoyable to read. Will Continue to follow Kolla and Brock later. In reading reviews of the next books in the series it seems that the Kindle versions of the books do not make for good reading, full of errors, etc
Dec 02, 2015 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maitland is such a fine mystery writer. His characters grow and learn, and the plots are so tightly structured.

In this one, the culprit seems so obvious--until he isn't. But it's a kind of Murder on the Orient Express deal, too. That part is not entirely untangled, but one can piece it together. Taut writing and solid characters. This is a really good series.
Kathy has been loaned out to a local agency who's boss is a sexist pig and doesn't believe she's capable of anything. She, of course, becomes involved in a mysterious death at a local health spa. The story is complicated and odd at times but the resolution is well worth the wait.
Oct 16, 2011 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat odd approach in this book considering where the series eventually goes. The book is in three parts, with the first being Kathy narrating to Brock the difficulties encountered in the murder case so far, the second Brock alone going undercover (with only mixed success) while another crime is committed, and finally Part III is Brock and Kathy working together to tie things up. You can tell in this book (#2 in the series) the author is still trying to figure out his characters and their rel ...more
Apr 27, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a light, fun, absorbing mystery. The crime takes place in a large estate that has been converted to an alternative medicine center that patrons check into for weeks or months at a time. The author admits it's the perfect setting for an Agatha Christie story, though in this case the butler did not do it. I enjoyed reading about detectives whose work is thwarted by their superiors because they're involved in the crime. It seems fitting given my current situation, working for gasbags who d ...more
Nov 10, 2015 Kay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-crime
The Brits have always been big on alternative medicine, and several mystery writers have used the clinic/spa arrangement as a setting for a mystery. I'm not sure why I wasn't engrossed by this particular Brock/Kolla outing, but somehow I didn't enjoy it as much as others in the series.
This is the second novel I've read in the Kathy and Brock series. I'm so impressed with this writer's ability to make me care about his characters and draw me into the story. Add to that a puzzling murder or two with plenty of twists and turns and I'm hooked. As a former architect, Maitland brings much architectural interest to his books. The Malcontenta has a double meaning of course. But it refers on the surface to a mansion turned naturopathic spa outside of London and modeled after the villa ...more
Peter Anderson
Apr 27, 2015 Peter Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
What a great read! This is my second Brock & Kolla (after the Marx Sisters) and it's just as good as the first.

Barry Maitland is one of Australia's best crime writers. The characters are so well drawn and the plots are riveting.

Most other reviewers will give you an indication of the story line so I won't bother with that except to say that many authors have problems with "the ending"; not in this case! Maitland holds your attention right to the very end of the book.

I would recommend "The Mal
Mar 14, 2014 Sher rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Didn't like the backwards way the story was told. Of course when you finish, you realized you would realized the murderer right away if told in the traditional way.
Sep 06, 2014 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the character development of Brock and Kolla, and I intend to read more in the series.
Mickey Hoffman
Feb 01, 2014 Mickey Hoffman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has interesting characters and a devious plot.
Jun 26, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
I found Maitland's follow up an enjoyable success. He brings Kolla to a county department on loan for a nice change of scenery, but manages to incorporate Brock into the story in an essential way. Their relationship is endearing, the story was tense and twisty without being unbelievable, and the setting--though not London--was interesting and full of character. I'm anxious to read the rest of the series (and I'm happy to see that there are at least four more).
Nov 15, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murder-mystery
I really must pay more attention to what I download on to my Kindle. I didn't realise that this book is almost 18 years old until I was into it and wondering why the technology seemed so archaic. Things have changed a lot in 18 years.
Nevertheless, it was a very satisfying, if a little dated, mystery with plenty of red herrings and plot twists. I can't work out how I hadn't read it before!
Mar 25, 2013 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this one - murders in a naturopathic clinic run by a strong minded autocrat. As with other Maitlands, the architecture is an important aspect - the Malcontenta being a classic Italian building copied as a folly in the English landscape. Plenty of twists and turns, but all perfectly reasonable.
Mar 01, 2013 Connie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this second book in the series more than The Marx Sisters. I felt it has a much better plot design and better character development. Now, on to The Chalon Heads which I started months ago but stopped wanting to read these in order.
Mar 19, 2016 Martina rated it really liked it
read this around the time the book group read The Marx Sisters....
Sep 14, 2013 Judie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I never really got into this book - the main characters seemed flat and the premise didn't seem real. I'll try the next book in the series and then decide if I want to continue reading Mr. Maitland's police procedurals.
Oct 25, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Kathy and Brock book that I have read. Actually the second book in the series. I liked the book, good characters, good descriptions and a good story. I will continue reading the books.
Dec 29, 2009 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Any book by Australian Barry Maitland is a must read for me. Cleverly written (as always) this Brock and Kolla mystery didn't fail to please.
Nov 25, 2009 Angie rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, series
I think I'll read this series as long as it runs. Great characters and this mystery was very different from the last.
Jan 27, 2008 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This is really more of a 3 1/2 star book but I'm giving it the extra half star since it's part of a stronger series.
Dec 30, 2009 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
British mystery author that has good characters and a plot that is intricate. I like this team.
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Barry Maitland is the author of the acclaimed Brock and Kolla series of crime mystery novels, which are set in London, where Barry grew up after his family moved there.

His books have been described as whydunits as much as whodunits, concerned with the devious histories and motivations of their characters. Barry's background in architecture drew him to the structured character of the mystery novel,
More about Barry Maitland...

Other Books in the Series

Brock & Kolla (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Marx Sisters (Brock & Kolla, #1)
  • All My Enemies (Brock & Kolla, #3)
  • The Chalon Heads (Brock & Kolla, #4)
  • Silvermeadow (Brock & Kolla, #5)
  • Babel (Brock & Kolla, #6)
  • The Verge Practice (Brock & Kolla, #7)
  • No Trace (Brock & Kolla, #8)
  • Spider Trap (Brock & Kolla, #9)
  • Dark Mirror (Brock & Kolla, #10)
  • Chelsea Mansions (Brock & Kolla, #11)

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