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The Vicarious Liver -or- Working Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries #1)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  926 ratings  ·  138 reviews
A nosy RN turned small-town-coroner gets more than she bargains for when she unexpectedly becomes the main suspect in this darkly comedic tale of murder, mayhem, and political hi-jinks.

Mattie Winston, RN, is wryly cynical, politically incorrect, and inherently nosy, traits that suit her well when she trades in her hospital scrubs and operating room table for a plastic apro
Paperback, 296 pages
Published by (first published September 2009)
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Jean Poulos
This is a new author and narrator for me. Ryan tells the story of Mattie Winston who has caught her husband David Winston, M.D., having an affair with Karen Owenby, R.N.

Mattie moves out, quits her job, files for divorce and moves in with her gay friend Izzy, who is the Chief Medical Examiner. Izzy suggest Mattie apply for a job as a deputy coroner investigator. Mattie does and is hired and the first homicide call turns out to be the murder of Karen Owenby. Detective Steven Harley is assigned to
This book is so much fun! This had been recommended to me many times, but I remained cautiously optimistic and was rewarded with a bucketload of laughs. Mattie is a crack-up without being a total crackhead; she’s funny and gets into hilarious situations, but she’s not stupid and forever tripping over her own feet, either. I love the supporting characters – Izzy and his partner Dom, Arnie, and of course the hunky Detective Steve Hurley. There aren’t too many developments between him and Mattie as ...more
Working Stiff by Annelise Ryan is the first book in the Mattie Winston Mystery series. When Mattie walks in on her husband with another woman, she dumps him and her job as an operating theatre nurse and becomes the medical examiners assistant. Unfortunately one of her first cases is the murder of her husbands mistress with him becoming lead suspect. I enjoyed this first book in a series very much. Mattie's clumsiness leads to quite a few hilarious situations. A very funny and entertaining read.
Story? Good...pretty good writing and an okay plot. Liked the main character and her job/detective work made sense and worked well in the story.

Things I didn't like? Too much sexual innuendo and euphemisms. I'm not 16...adults (at least the ones I know) aren't generally that crass.

And she kept referring to being gay as 'a lifestyle.' Why? It's not like 'an active lifestyle' or the 'Atkins lifestyle.' It's just who they are. That's just a pet peeve of mine.

Will a read the second? Probably.
The UHQ Nasanta
3 stars

Having thoroughly enjoyed myself with Scared Stiff, the second book in the series, I decided to hunt up the rest of the books in the series. I did enjoy Working Stiff. I found the writing style to be readable, the protagonist's POV to be humorous and authentic, and the mystery to be fairly convoluted. This book did fail to hold my attention in the way that Scared Stiff did not. I found myself pausing about halfway through the book in favor of other reads, and found it easy to put down aft
Melissa Cochrill
Thoughly good book! Maddie Winston is an enjoyable and zany main character. Some may call her foul or the writing a little crude mouthed, I think it added to Maddie's likability. I liked the supporting characters too. I'm looking forward to the next book!
There have been very few times that I have not been able to finish a book. I pride myself on finishing what I start. But this one...I ended up quickly scanning 3/4 of the way through. It was just so insane, and not in a good way.


I knew I was going to have problems right off the bat. There is no way - none - that a police detective would allow a murder suspect's wife be involved in any part of the investigation. But here is Mattie, the murder suspect's wife, investigating the murd
Why I really, really, really like this book...

Annelise Ryan's Mattie Winston books are a fabulous new mystery series that I recently become somewhat addicted to. Mattie has recently had a life altering revelation (of sorts) involving her Doctor husband, but also her profession since Mattie worked as a nurse in the same hospital. Luckily Mattie has Izzy, her gay best friend, and now because of his job as chief medical examiner, her boss. Mattie's life now with a new job, a new home (also thanks t
I liked this series, especially since it centers around a character that is suppose to be investigating the clues and the murder scenes as a deputy coroner, rather than around a protagonist who starts off as the prime suspect in the first book of the series and then just happens into more murders and crime scenes in future books. There's nothing wrong with those series, I read a lot of them, but its refreshing to have someone investigating like they were suppose to. The main characters were grea ...more
2.5 Stars

I believe that had I read this first, I'd not have read the second one in the series.

This is "light" reading at its lightest....nothing of substance here...just "ho-hum".

Mattie is a new ME who has just quit her job as RN at the local hospital where her husband is a prominent surgeon. She has caught David & Karen Owenby, another nurse, in a very compromising position and is now in the process of divorcing him.

Karen has just turned up dead & David id the main suspect..... Mattie t
Doris Ernst
Good read. Cozy mystery. Kept me interested all the way through. Several twists and turns. Didn't figure out who done it until almost the end. Mattie, a nurse turned deputy coroner, investigator is really likable. The detective Steve Hurley livens things up a bit too. Easy guess as the character Mattie grows in her new job so will the relationship with hunky detective Hurley as the series continues.
Mary Brown
Working Stiff by Annelise Ryan was a great cozy mystery. There was mystery, suspense and lots of humor. I think the humor is what made this book stand out from other cozy mystery. There were a lot of times that I not only smiled but laughed out loud. Mattie says and thinks the most outrageous things. The mystery was well thought out and I didn't figure out the murderer until it was revealed at the end, although I did have a slight feeling I knew who it was when all of the events at the end unfol ...more
I appreciated the way the forensic science was explained as Mattie learned to do autopsies. I like the setup where Mattie is making a life for herself in a career change, with the help of a good friend (who happens to be the coroner) after a divorce.
But at times, I felt it was trying hard to be funny in a very particular way, of pratfalls and predictable unresolved sexual tension.
This is like what would happen if Stephanie Plum did forensics.
I would love to find a funny mystery novel with a fe
Shelley Ochowski
Hilariously funny. As a nurse I found this book very accurate and Mattie had me in stitches. This lighthearted read would be a great gift for anyone, especially someone with a medical background.
this was a cute cozy mystery - i liked the characters and the story had some twists and a funny ending. this has the makings of a fun series, so i'll look forward to more.
The first in the Mattie Winston series. I loved the humor that's in this book and am looking forward to what other trouble Mattie gets in :)
❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes)
Not a bad start to a series. Interesting blend of humour and drama and the characters are interesting enough for me to read the next one.
I really enjoyed this story. It is not gruesome, and Mattie was pretty numerous, not LOL for me, but it definitely made me smile. It iOS a "cozy" mystery - there isn't really anything scary or suspenseful, but Mattie is entertaining as she interacts with the other characters. While she is smart, she is pretty klutzy. The vibe of the overall story reminded me of the show Matlock. I did think that some of the things she did under her role as deputy coroner, probably weren't legal or would lead to ...more
I had high hopes for this series as I am fascinated by coroners and autopsies and figuring out crimes this way. And some of this book did not disappoint which is why my interest was held and why I finished the book. But the behavior of the characters, especially the main character, is so ridiculous that the whole story loses any validity. If people said the things she does or behaved the ways she does, not only couldn't she hold a job, she would probably be sued for sexual harassment. So I have ...more
Adarsh Kota
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Now this -- is funny! This deserves "humor"-status.

I really liked this story. Throughout most of the first half, the humor just kept on coming. The second half was less humorous though my interest was maintained because the plot was maintained and and the guilty party was not easy to figure out.

While other books of this genre struggle with believability, in "Working Stiff," because of Mattie Winston's background previously working as a registered nurse at a local hospital, and now as a morgue a
I recently came across this book while wandering through the stacks at the local library and I'm glad I did. Reading the blurb on the inside cover made me want to read it but the first paragraph grabbed my attention and from that moment on I was hooked. I had to read more about this zany main character and see what strange things were going on in her life.

Mattie Winston is a nurse. She doesn't let catching her cheating doctor husband with his pants down destroy her. Not this sassy woman. She goe
Meg Fee
This was an interesting book, at no time did I even have a suspect. The only thing the main character, Mattie, was certain of at the beginning was that her husband, that she'd left 2 months ago because she caught him cheating, did not kill the woman he was cheating on her with. Because she didn't want to work at the same hospital as David, her husband, she moved into her best friend (and neighbor)'s guest house. He also got her a new job working with him as a coroner. Somehow her first homicide ...more
Mattie catches her Dr. hubby giving his new nurse some tender loving care. Marriage over. She also couldn't continue to work at the same place they did. So when the coroner's office has an opening she stepped up. However one night she when to go get some of her things back that she left behind at their house. But instead of catching them gone, she possibly catches sight of dr hubby murdering his new nurse. As Mattie works toward solving the mystery, because no matter what kind of idiot dr hubby ...more
Quirky, keen and not for the faint at heart, Annelise Ryan’s debut new cozy mystery series will have readers dying for more!

With an opening line of “I’m surprised by how much the inside of a dead body smells like the inside of a live one.”, I knew that I was going to be in for one interesting read. I was not disappointed. Annelise Ryan blends together a hint of the macabre, humor, mystery and one sassy main character to give readers a rather unique cozy mystery. Do be warned that parts of the st
Author is a nurse and she really knows her stuff. Her heroine is Mattie Winston, an ER and OR nurse who is going through a divorce from her doctor husband. She caught him in the OR with another nurse and they weren't operating on a patient.
She leaves him and her job. Her best friend, Izzy, is the Medical Examiner. He hires Mattie as a Deputy Coroner.
Then the fun starts as the bodies start to drop. First is the infamous nurse of the OR incident. Is Mattie a suspect?
Her life is complicated by the
This has potential to be a good series although I thought the story this time around was dragged out somewhat. I kept looking at how many pages i had left to finish which is not always a good sign.

We are introduced to Mattie Winston who has started to work as a deputy coroner due to some massive changes in her life. Izzy is great at teaching Mattie patiently the ropes and of course (as I've now come to expect in all these cozy mysteries) he is her gay best friend. It is amazing how each of the s
Adrienne Testa
Mattie Winston is reeling from her husband's affair, when the girlfriend turns up dead. Mattie now deputy coroner, after quitting her RN job at the hospital, sets out to find a killer and learn the truth about the girlfriend's identity. Town loves their gossip and loves to keep their secrets, even if it means killing to keep those secrets. It rambles, taking away from the murder mystery. Although, it has likable characters, the rambling takes away from the story.
Michele Chambers
i'm new to reading the light-hearted mysteries. This was so enjoyable. I found myself not wanting to stop reading a chapter.

Absolutley love the chaacter Mattie Winston. The fact that she wasn't created to be another blond bomb shell or but just as beautiful is so refreshing. Also the side characters also. Especially Dective Steve Hurley.
The fact that she is a former nurse but is now work as a Deputy Coroner's Assistant is very different, but also extremely interesting.

Please tell me there wi
Linda Smatzny
This is the first book in a series featuring Mattie Winston. Mattie is a RN who is now working as a deputy coroner. The first case is that of the murder of Karen Owenby who was having an affair with Mattie's husband, David. Mattie is very curious which is good in her job. The story is set in a small town in Wisconsin so lots of characters. It was an easy read - the pages just seemed to fly by. Can't wait to read the next.
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question 1 15 Jul 27, 2012 06:26PM  
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Other Books in the Series

Mattie Winston Mysteries (7 books)
  • Scared Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries, #2)
  • Frozen Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries, #3)
  • Lucky Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries, #4)
  • Board Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries, #5)
  • Stiff Penalty (Mattie Winston Mysteries, #6)
  • Stiff Competition (A Mattie Winston Mystery Book 7)
Second Sight Cold White Fury Eyes of Night The Face of Death Nick of Time

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“I'm surprised by how much the inside of a dead body smells like the inside of a live one.” 4 likes
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