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Murder as a Second Language (Claire Malloy #19)

3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  498 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
In "Murder as a Second Language" by award-winning mystery author Joan Hess, longtime bookseller and single mother Claire Malloy has recently married Deputy Chief Peter Rosen, moved out of her old home, and is preparing to send her daughter, Caron, off to college. All of which is about to leave Claire with something she hasn’t had in quite a while: spare time. Which of cour ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Minotaur Books (first published May 7th 2013)
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(showing 1-30 of 827)
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Valerie Andrews
This book has made me rethink my ongoing relationship with this series. Maybe it's a natural progression for the character, but I wasn't very fond of our Ms. Malloy in this book. I'm concerned that Claire's lack of purposeful employment, now that she's remarried, is making her less appealing as a lead character. She's very short-tempered with her associates, apathetic with her bookstore, snarky with her daughter and secretive with her husband. Is the pre-menopausal Claire here to stay? I hope no ...more
Laura Salas
I used to really enjoy this series, but this was the first title I've read in a while. Claire seemed whiny and not all that likeable (gee, I wonder where Caron gets it from?). I made it about 1/2 of the way through and realized I just didn't care who the killer was. There was no tension and nothing at stake for Claire, who is apparently now just looking for things to fill her days since she's not needed at the bookstore. Very disappointed.
Cute, fast read although I wonder if the whole Claire Malloy franchise is getting a little stale. In this latest edition, Claire and her husband, the gorgeous Peter, and her wisecracking daughter, Caron, are living in Claire's dreamhouse - a lovely Victorian with a library, pool and more. Ah, life is good! She is no longer actively involved in the day to day runnings of her bookstore, so she's bored. She's decided to do her own version of Cooking With Julia. Alas, her family is less than enthuse ...more
Karen Douglass
Too much stock-in-trade for my taste. I finished it but the protagonist was unappealing. She has a fine life and is not much engaged in it. If a real character owned a bookstore, had a teenage daughter and a loving second husband, I think she would spend less time feeling useless.
Oct 30, 2014 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had been wondering how things would go once Claire was a lady of leisure, married to a rich, handsome husband? Answer: boringly. I pretty much had to force myself to read the second half of the book through inertia and skimming.
May 15, 2014 Steven rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Always (to my mind at least) the lesser of Joan Hess' two main protagonists, Claire Malloy loses even more of her luster in her latest outing. Maybe she just came off as more sympathetic of a character when her overbearing self-regard, unrelenting acerbity and unlikeable pushiness were lightened with the economic and romantic woes of a single mother trying to raise a teenage daughter and keep a struggling business afloat. Maybe Ms Hess has just lost her knack for giving this particular character ...more
Jan 02, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wasn't sure I was liking this one at first. Claire Malloy is feeling somewhat adrift and without purpose since her sweet new husband has moved her into the house of her dreams and hired a clerk to run her small bookstore. Her sense of boredom pervades the first third of the book until, surprise, a murder that she might have an insider's advantage at solving, gives her something of interest to dive into. By the end I was having trouble following all the various plotlines (I listened to the book o ...more
Suspense Magazine
Claire Malloy returns in the nineteenth novel featuring the sleuthing bookstore owner. Claire is adjusting to married life in a new house as well as the free time made possible by a clerk who handles the bookstore’s daily chores. She’s going stir crazy and testing the patience of her husband and daughter with her attempts at French cooking. She ends up trying to volunteer as an English as a Second Language tutor with her daughter and her daughter’s best friend, but instead ends up elected—agains ...more
PEI Public Library Service
Life is now good for Claire Malloy, bookstore owner and amateur sleuth. After many years of struggle as a single parent supporting herself and her daughter Caron, Claire Malloy has married her boyfriend (and Deputy Police Chief) Peter. The family’s financial situation is secure and Claire, Peter and Caron have recently moved into Claire’s dream home. With her bookstore being run by a very capable employee, Claire now has time on her hands to pursue other interests. When her attempts to learn Fre ...more
In this 19th book in the series Claire Molloy, bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, recently married Deputy Chief Peter Rosen of the Farberville Police Department. They live in a lovely home with Claire's college-bound daughter Caron. Caron and her pal Inez plan to pad their college applications by volunteering at the Farberville Literary Council (FLC), which teaches English as a second language (ESL) to immigrants. Claire, now having a manager for her bookstore, agrees to help out at the FLC as ...more
The Claire Malloy Mystery novels follow Claire Malloy, a bookstore owner in a small college town, where she lives with her teenage daughter Caron. Constantly stumbling into trouble, Claire also always seems to stumble upon the answer, much to the annoyance of her beau, Deputy Chief Peter Rosen.

In the latest installment, Murder as a Second Language, Claire has recently married Peter and moved to a beautiful house outside of town. With the bookstore being run by hired help, and Caron busy being a
May 03, 2014 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this book caught my eye since my daughter is studying to become an ESL teacher. I know that I have read other Claire Malloy books and they have been rather nice enjoyable reading. However I do have to agree with other reviewers that something seemed lacking in this book especially with the main character -- maybe she was having a mid-life crisis. Claire seemed to have no focus and just seemed to drift along while her daughter seemed to be more the grown-up than her mother. Her daugh ...more
Dec 30, 2013 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was revisting a old friend but she is not as interesting to me and story/plot line wavered towards the end !!!
Jan 07, 2014 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bookstore owner Claire Malloy becomes involved with a center that offers English lessons to speakers of other languages. Soon enough, someone is murdered. Who done it? And why are the staff members so mysterious? And why do the board members clash so much? With almost a dozen murder suspects to question and several other mysteries to solve, Claire jumps into action.

I prefer the earlier Claire Malloy mysteries, when Caron spoke in Capital Letters more often and when Peter was more annoyed by Clai
Jan 10, 2014 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually race through the Claire Malloy Mysteries but this one was a chore to read. Claire's investigates the death of an unlikeable older Polish woman at the Faberville Literary Council. Seniors Caron and Inez are volunteering as ESL tutors to help with their upcoming college applications. Claire is at loose ends with a graduate student running her book store so she has taken up French cooking. Bored with that she decides to become a tutor also. Too late to take the required class for tutoring ...more
May 17, 2014 judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I've read them all and this was not my fav. Her daughter seems to be maturing a bit and is not so annoying. Not so Claire. I didn't care for the dynamic between Peter and Clare. He won't listen to her unless she can produce evidence--ignoring her impressive track record solving crimes. She acts like a super sleuth-working far more than a normal day-everyday-hunting down people to interview. Not sure what the solution is. The bookstore clearly doesn't do it and I can't see her in the police acade ...more
May 18, 2015 Terry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book of the Claire Malloy series that I have read and I doubt I will read another. Claire is insensitive, smug, rude, self-oriented and generally unlikeable. She goes ballistic when someone follows her, yet thinks nothing of breaking and entering and spilling confidential information about others to her daughter and husband. From other reviews, it seems I picked the wrong book to start with. I did like the setting of the literacy council and the theme of English tutoring and v ...more
Beth Yeary
I was afraid that Joan Hess had stopped writing the Claire Malloy series. And that marriage would have retired Clair from solving mysteries. Luckily I was wrong on both counts. This was a good read, with some pleasant surprises. Caron has grown up, and doesn't whine as often. Inez treated herself to a make over, and is now dating.

Not only did Clair solve a murder mystery, but several others during the course of this book. She's made new friends, and visited old ones, too. Claire is also trying
Apr 11, 2015 Carole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books-read
Claire Malloy is living the good life; her husband, deputy police chief Peter Rosen, persuaded her to get someone to handle the everyday business of her bookstore, leaving Claire with too much time on her hands. She decides to volunteer at the Farberville Literacy Council and is talked into temporarily serving on the Board of Directors and is sucked into looking into the murder of one of the students. Claire is doing her usual thing, not staying out of the police investigation and getting hersel ...more
Apr 13, 2014 Gloria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read. Claire Malloy is given to very snarky comments which can be amusing but sometimes it is a bit overdone. The reader can identify with the trials of parenting a teen and being married to a handsome police detective who was at some time in some way connected with the CIA...if he told you... A little more compassion along with the very inept sleuthing would move the story along. I find it hard to be sympathetic to someone who is so bored that they are looking for things to do to ...more
Jun 10, 2015 Marcia rated it really liked it
Claire Malloy fills up her days with French cooking and solving murders. Her daughter's effort to pad her college resume results in Claire's new interest in helping foreign students and is appointed to the Farberville Literacy Council so that it can function during the summer when many of the directors are away. A particularly difficult older student is found dead, and Claire is in the middle of it all. The solution is logical rather than complicated. Fans of Claire will enjoy her latest adventu ...more
This was a bit of a disappointment. Until now I've been a loyal fan of the Claire Malloy series but may have to rethink continuing with the series. Claire is happily married and her daughter Caron is getting ready to graduate, however Claire has way too much free time on her hands now that she has hired someone to handle running her book store. This seems to mean that she has absolutely nothing else to do besides drive around town asking people all sorts of nosy questions. While that is fairly p ...more
I mostly like the Claire Malloy mysteries, not for the mystery, but for the snarky characters of Claire and her teenage daughter Caron; how can she make sniping sound so funny and so spot on? In this installment, Caron has to do volunteer work to put on her college applications and somehow Claire is drawn in to be on the board of the local nonprofit that teaches ESL. When a mean old Polish woman is murdered, Claire hops on the case, despite the misgivings of her policeman husband Peter.
Mar 04, 2014 Ricki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always enjoyed Joan Hess' mysteries. This one was no is an interesting, witty, and perplexing murder mystery with real life situations. Her characters are so real that I found Claire's daughter annoying me with her true to life teen made me wish that I could 'ground' that daughter for a month of Sundays! LOL Most of us can identify with the family problems and social situations that Claire encounters while solving a murder that even baffles her detective husband ...more
Mar 01, 2014 Francine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick easy read. I haven't read the 18 books that came ahead of this one so I don't know much about the character, Claire Malloy.

Her life seems a tad bit pretentious...maybe she has earned the life of leisure...I just don't know. Claire's child is certainly a spoiled little thing; again maybe she, too, deserves a break.

This book reminded me of the work of Diane Davidson Mott who writes nice easy fiction with murder and intrigue in the Boulder, Colorado region.

The writing is good and
Jan 31, 2014 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found Claire Malloy, recently married and the mother of a mouthy teenager, rather bland. Claire seems to be at something of loose ends since her bookstore no longer needs her attention, her daughter is pretty self-sufficient except for spending lots of money on clothes and expensive eating places; her husband is mostly absent, but when he appears as a policeman, he does not want her involved in the mysteries, yet doesn't really do anything to stop her meddling. Not too impressed.
May 09, 2014 Val rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Claire Malloy is happily settled into her dream home with her dream husband but she's bored. She's so bored she's resorted to cooking French food, much to her family's consternation. So, since she isn't needed as much at her own book store, she begins to volunteer at the local literacy council where things are not as they should be. This is another witty entry in this mystery series.
Jan 29, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-arkansas
Claire Malloy, happily remarried, is at loose ends, and somehow becomes involved in volunteering at the Farberville Literacy Council. When an obnoxious student is found dead, the police don't know where to look first--so many people disliked the elderly woman. But that's not a real motive, is it? Claire digs around, despite her husband's protests, and unearths more than one kind of malfeasance at the seemingly benign nonprofit.
Oct 12, 2014 Jon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hess's wit is as sharp as ever, but the list of suspects is too long to the point where some characters felt interchangeable and others relied too uncomfortably on stereotype. The ultimate resolution doesn't feel fair to the reader. But there was fun in checking in with the series regulars -- I haven't read a Claire Malloy mystery since the 90s.
Jennie Jennie
Sad to say, but this book really let me down. I gave it 3 stars simply because I adore Joan Hess. I could barely finish it, there were parts that were hard to follow, and I had a hard time loving Claire as much as I have in the past. I realize that after a series has gone on this long that things can get stale, but it's still disappointing. I miss Arly and the folks in Maggody.
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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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