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

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3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  1,311 ratings  ·  240 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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89th out of 233 books — 621 voters
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Best Cozy Mystery Series
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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
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
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
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!
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.
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
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
Linda Baker
I have always been a fan of the traditional English mystery so G. M. Malliet's Death of a Cozy Writer (winner of the 2008 Agatha Award) has been on my TBR pile for quite a while. I found it to be most enjoyable, quite funny at times, and a very satisfying mystery. I think I discovered Agatha Christie at about the age of ten, and read them ALL, the good, the bad and the somewhat indifferent.

Death of a Cozy Writer is formed as a traditional English Country House mystery, with limited suspects and...more
Lori McD
3-3.5 stars

I'd rate this book higher, but I considered it a "cheat". The author withheld valuable clues from the reader or presented clues (such as old photos) that the reader couldn't see and weren't described fully, so there was no way to truly solve this mystery. The readers have to sit back and allow DCI St. Just to do it for us. Not my favorite way to read a mystery.

My other reticence in reading this book was that I got the impression from reading the book's description that this was set in...more
Ronna
Death of a Cozy Writer won numerous mystery book awards when it came out in 2008. I could tell way before I had gotten very far into the story that the awards were most justified!!

The English countryside and home of mystery writer and millionaire, Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk is the center for this character driven , police procedural murder mystery. Everyone seems to have motive and no one seems particularly honest with their answers. But worst of all, murder seems more of an inconvenience for the...more
Ivonne Rovira
Author G.M. Malliet kicks off a series featuring Detective Chief Inspector St. Just and his trusty sidekick, Sergeant Fear. Death of a Cozy Writer operates as both a British cozy and an affectionate send-up of the cozy mystery genre. While many compare this novel to the cozies penned by Dame Agatha Christie, there are similarities to several other beloved mystery mainstays.

The self-centered and malicious Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk invites his four dysfunctional children to an engagement party, ma...more
Milena Benini
This is actually a 4-and-2-stars book, hence the 3 star rating.

First, the 4-star stuff: it's a cozy mystery in the old style: a grand mansion, an excentric rich old man, his more or less no-good family, and murder. Adding to the atmosphere is the fact that the old man is in fact a cozy writer himself, so references to cozy mysteries abund and make the reader conversant with the genre at least smile every page or two.

The 2-star stuff: the solution is plucked out of thin air, with a mass of infor...more
Judy
This debut novel by G.M. Malliet won the Kirus Reviews Best Mystery Book of 2008 and the 2008 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. And a winner it is. This book is an homage to the golden age of British country house cozy mysteries and is a worthy addition to that tradition. Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk is the immensely wealthy author of numerous cozy British mysteries that he writes in the study of his huge 18th century English manor house. He is also a man who dislikes and is disliked by his four a...more
Anissa
This was a very fun read. This is my first experience with G.M. Malliet & I thoroughly enjoyed the way the mystery unravelled. With two grisly murders, a manor house, blustery weather & the appearance of some well placed cats, I was completely swept up in this story. I'm a big fan of British mysteries in general and this one kept me page turning & guessing up to the last. Also, there are some truly funny though macabre moments along the way. I often stopped to highlight, laugh &...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...
Wicked Autumn (A Max Tudor Mystery, #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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