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Death of a Cozy Writer (A St. Just Mystery #1)

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3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  1,541 ratings  ·  261 reviews
From deep in the heart of his eighteenth century English manor, millionaire Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk writes mystery novels and torments his four spoiled children with threats of disinheritance. Tiring of this device, the portly patriarch decides to weave a malicious twist into his well-worn plot. Gathering them all together for a family dinner, he announces his latest blo ...more
Paperback, 297 pages
Published July 8th 2008 by Midnight Ink (first published July 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,712)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.5* of five

A light and pleasant entertainment, worth the eyeblinks.

I don't think I'll pursue the series unless the second one falls in my lap somehow.

But many a cozy reader will lap this up! Find out why at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

Laura
Before you dismiss this as tacky light fiction, which I would have done if it didn’t appeal to my mania for country house murders, let me say that it had me laughing aloud on the first page. A dreadful old writer invites his offspring, all of whom loathe him, to his estate to celebrate his engagement to a glamorous socialite. It doesn’t take his kids long to dig up that she suspected of murdering her first husband decades ago. The offspring would refuse their father's invitation (also maliciousl ...more
Ellie
I spent a delightful morning reading Death of a Cozy Writer: A St. Just Mystery by G.M. Malliet. I had to keep checking the date of publication (2008) because it was so reminiscent of my favorite mysteries of the 1930s. References of course to e-mail and the like kept startling me back into the time frame of the novel: now.

The structure of the story is the classic wealthy patriarch playing his (4) grown children against each other using his ever-changing will (& then upcoming nuptials) to ke
...more
Krob
I wished that this book had been bettter.
a wonderful premise. A modern setting for an old fashioned plot, but it just didn't make it. I will read the next one, but if it doesn't improve, this author is history with me.
Rob
While browsing in the Mystery section at my local book merchant, I came across this sublime debut from new writer, G.M. Malliet. Always a fan of the traditional English mystery, I was instanly intrigued and subsequently entertained. If Agatha Christie has been reincarnated, then she has come back in the form of G.M. Malliet, who has deftly captured the Dame's essence when it comes to constructing the perfect English manor mystery.
When a malicious and morally bereft writer of a popular mystery se
...more
Dagný
This book was a disappointment. I had come across it many times when looking for mysteries and it is highly decorated, for example it received the 2008 Agatha Award. I kept reading in a trance of indignation; how can it go on and on and never become the least bit award-worthy, was it about to transform? (It did make a feeble attempt at retrofitting but it was just a facade)
I was curious about what made this book such a failure as opposed to success in my mind. For one thing, the characters are
...more
Kristine Kucera
This was a typical murder mystery: the suspects sequestered in the mansion; the detective gathering them to identify the killer. It was an entertaining, fast-paced read. The only item keeping me from giving it five stars is how the mystery was solved. The detective used information that we readers did not have - making it impossible for me to make a decent guess. This won't keep me from reading another one, though. It was a fun, easy read!
Kyrie
I'd definitely read another book in this series.

I love the names - St. Just and his sergeant Fear. (Sound like awesome names for a pair of dogs.)

The plot got very confusing to me, but it all came out in the end, and yes, it was probably just as confusing to the detectives.

A more than curmudgeonly writer of cozy mysteries calls his equally unlikeable children and ex-wife to his mansion (castle?) to witness his second marriage. That's when the bodies start turning up.

The best parts were the bits
...more
Caroline
Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk, millionaire author of cozy murder mysteries, summons his 4 children to the castle for a family gathering. Having grown up under the tyrannical thumb of their father who constantly threatens them with disinheritance, none of the 4 dare disobey. But the announcement that Sir Adrian is not engaged to be married but has instead eloped and is already married, to a woman who was once suspected of murdering her first husband throws his 4 children into confusion and the alread ...more
Karen
I wish I had read more of the reviews before I read the book. The publicity makes it sound like a real Golden Age mystery, but in fact it is more of a parody than a true example of the type. The characters are stereotypes and their motivations are obvious. The Great Detective doesn't even come into the story until about half-way through. He really doesn't have to figure out anything. We have already seen most everything at that point.

Other parts are well-written, and it did win an Agatha award,
...more
Hannah
Death of a Cozy Writer was an "okay" read that fell a short of my expectations, but at least never went all the way to being disappointing. For all the humor and comfortingly familiar premise in the line of a traditional Agatha Christie novel, it just didn't have the same gripping suspense or an interesting detective character.

The biggest problem I had with this book is the author's decision to keep the main detective off-stage until about halfway through the story, by which time I was becoming
...more
lisa
I am a fan of cozy mysteries and golden age detective fiction. So when I saw Death of a Cozy Writer as the Kindle Daily Deal a while back, I bought it without hesitation. Maybe there should have been some hesitation.

I don’t want to give away the entire plot, so my summary will be brief. This is the story of the Beauclerk-Fisk family, whose patriarch, Sir Adrian, is a cozy mystery writer. He manipulates his four children—Ruthven (the heir apparent), George, Albert, and Sarah—with frequent changes
...more
Grey853
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dalia
This book contains some of the most tortured, complicated sentences ever written, and that is not a compliment. You can see the writer trying to be witty. I was hoping more characters would be killed as they were so unsympathetic.
Selah
Overall, an interesting, though not entirely satisfying cozy. The writing and plot were uneven, but I enjoyed St. Just and Sergeant Fear. The narrator, Davina Porter, was excellent!
Tasula
I read to the end because I wanted to find out who the murderer was, but I really didn't think it was well written, and I didn't like any of the characters.
Alice
1st St. Just "No one reigns innocently--Saint-Just

pg 49--... What isn't impossible, once all the impossibilities are excluded must be possible.

pg139--St Just remembering the many troubled abandoned children ... Part of the problem seemed to be that if at too young an age you lost the voice that taught you right from wrong, danger from safety, you never learned to internalize the necessary restrictions.

pg 147 Albert wondered if his moral compass were constantly being reset by the last part he had
...more
Nancy
Feb 19, 2014 Nancy added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Lee
I recently read a review of the third book of this series which caught my interest and, as is my wont, I search for this first of series first.

I enjoyed the very slow build up at the beginning where the author went to great lengths to introduce us to the characters. Being one who likes to pronounce names in my head as I read a book, this one had me searching for the pronunciation of 'Ruthven' ( actually Rivven to rhyme with driven).

The storyline was good and for the most part ran along quite smo
...more
Jennifer Storm
Looking at some of the other reviews I surmise that cozy mysteries are not for straight-laced mystery readers. This book is a true cozy, full of witty language, it is downright funny. The writer has strewn the book with elaborately and humorously conceived metaphors that give the reader a clear glimpse into the peculiar world her characters inhabit.

Cozies make no bones about it: they are about the setting, the characters, and the entertaining dialogue above plot development. We cozy readers ret
...more
Janet
I'm very glad I came across this first book in a series I'm looking forward to reading. DCI St. Just and Sgt. Fear are such great characters, and immensely likeable. As they wade through the many suspects in a country house, we see how good they are at seeing right through to the heart of people.

Sir Adrian is a writer of cozy mysteries, he's also an insufferable jackass. His four grown children despise him even as they still yearn for his fatherly approval. His ex-wife walked out on the whole f
...more
Lisa
Want a 2-1/2 star rating for this one. It really was OK...amusing at some points, disappointingly drawn-out at others. I found the start fascinating, in that this is the St. Just series, but you don't see the Detective Inspector till quite a bit into the story. For this reason, I may give the series another go at some point. Perhaps it was the Beauclerk-Fisks who turned me off.
**SPOILER ALERT Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk is setting his ridiculous family up for a surprise of epic proportions. Honest
...more
Mmyoung
I understand that this book can be read as an affectionate homage to the 'traditional cozy murder' but in this reader's opinion it serves better as an example of the shortcomings, limitations and frustrations of that particular style of book.

The writing style itself flat and uninspiring. The narrative voice meandered from limited omniscient to shifting limited individual p.o.v.s without any sense of these shifts being motivated by more than the writer's need to impart some information while with
...more
S.M.
I don't know how to say this well enough, but there was just too much text for the sake of having text. Most of the characters were exaggerated a little too much exhausting the "cute english country side village" characterization allowance.

The revealing-all conversation between Ruthven and Albert was WAY too long and unrealistic for two sparring siblings. Sarah was introduced and then thrown to the side. The book started out with all the siblings consorting and then entirely focused on St Just w
...more
Donna Crow
I loved the way the camp opening with stock characters quickly became an engaging tale with people I cared about. I want to read more by this author.
Kris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mickey Hoffman
I loved this book until I got about 3/4 of the way through. The characters amused me and I have always loved that country house cozy mystery genre, and this one had some modern twists. Even though I only give it three stars, if you like mysteries with wry humor, you will probably like this book.
That being said, two things brought me down in the end. The first was the author's choice to switch point of view paragraph by paragraph. Sometimes this was confusing and even when it wasn't, well, I jus
...more
Joyce
I don't think this is a great mystery--it's okay but not wonderful. However, Davina Porter's narration is truly superb. She captures each of the eccentric characters, the witty dialog, and every aside--she clearly has a good time reading it! It's a locked room mystery and gentle, with only occasional profanity that might offend. And it centers on a horrifically dysfunctional family with the nasty father a prolific and wealthy writer of mysteries ala Agatha Christie. He's murdered, of course, but ...more
Stacielynn
Found this while sorting books for the AAUW used book sale and am delighted to have stumbled across it. I read it on New Years Eve, curled up by the fire with a dog and a cappuccino. I found it a pleasant read, with fleshed-out characters and a complex mystery. It was not as simplistic and silly as so many new mystery series seem to be. There was a reasonable level of intelligence, as well as some sophisticated humor. I found myself looking up a word or two, which is something I like to do while ...more
Rebecca
Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk--author of the famous and extensive 'Miss Rampling' series of cozy mysteries, is a thoroughly nasty piece of work. His four adult children avoid him like the plague he is, but when he informs them of his impending marriage--which they are sure portends yet another new will (Sir Adrian's favorite hobby is disinheriting anyone who annoys him, and the list changes weekly)--they reluctantly flock to Waverley Hall for an explosive family gathering. That it all ends in murder ...more
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G.M. Malliet writes crime novels for Thomas Dunne/Minotaur Books. The first book in her Max Tudor series is the Agatha-nominated WICKED AUTUMN (September 2011), which received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal. Library Journal and the Boston Globe also named it a Best Mystery of 2011: "Sly humor rivals Jane Austen’s."

WICKED AUTUMN also has been chosen by Shelf Awareness book review
...more
More about G.M. Malliet...

Other Books in the Series

A St. Just Mystery (3 books)
  • Death and the Lit Chick (A St. Just Mystery, #2)
  • Death at the Alma Mater (A St. Just Mystery #3)
Wicked Autumn (Max Tudor, #1) A Fatal Winter (A Max Tudor Mystery, #2) Death and the Lit Chick (A St. Just Mystery, #2) Pagan Spring (A Max Tudor Mystery, #3) Death at the Alma Mater (A St. Just Mystery #3)

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