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Death at the Alma Mater (St. Just Mystery #3)

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  726 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews


St. Michaels College is prestigious, stately—and in frightful disrepair. To replenish the school's dwindling coffers, the College Master plans a fundraising weekend for wealthy alums. But all goes awry when the wealthy and gorgeous Lexy Durant is found viciously strangled to death.

Drama queen Lexy inspired jealousy, envy, and sp

Paperback, 286 pages
Published January 8th 2010 by Midnight Ink
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Ivonne Rovira
Just as Death of a Cozy Writer sent up the venerable British house mystery, G.M. Malliet crafts her latest Detective Inspector St. Just mystery, Death at the Alma Mater as a send-up of Gaudy Night. However, Malliet proves more M.C. Beaton (in one of her lesser Hamish Macbeth novels) than Dorothy L. Sayers.

Most of Malliet's characters -- a notable exception being Portia De'Ath, and even she has a rather twee name -- come across as stock or over the top: the self-less police inspector, his loyal i
Jul 26, 2011 Laura rated it it was ok
Another funny mystery, though not nearly as good as the previous two. This time the murder takes place at the fictional St. Michael’s College, Cambridge, where the cash-strapped college is hosting a special weekend for rich alumni. Unfortunately, this time the author often goes for easy jokes, the solution is improbable, and — worst of all — there’s an appallingly written American character who occasionally throws cowboy expressions from TV Westerns into snarky, complexly British-sounding senten ...more
Sep 25, 2016 Damaskcat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
St Michael's College, Cambridge is getting short of money. The college is holding a reunion weekend with some very carefully selected alumni. They have been selected for their wealth in the hope they will make substantial donations to their alma mater. Then Lexi Laurant, one of the guests is found strangled.

No one seems to have liked her very much including her ex-husband Sir James Basset who is also a guest along with his second wife, India. DCI Arthur St Just must try and unravel the case and
Feb 10, 2011 Megan rated it liked it
Fun, although nothing but interviews and then a brilliant but hidden insight from our hero is a little too formulaic. Could have used a little more interaction between the hero and his girlfriend or something to break up all the interviewing of suspects.
Oct 15, 2010 Amy rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed the first book. Thought the second was okay. This one started off so disjointedly that I had a very hard time holding my interest. It didn't have the same fun, spoofy feel I loved in the first.
Feb 18, 2011 Sheila rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Very so-so. Solution depended on facts kept hidden from the reader, and while I'm not necessarily a stickler for this genre 'rule', it came across as very silly. It also took me a lot more work to make myself interested in the characters than in the first two.
Mar 05, 2010 Joanne rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I like academic mysteries and I like St. Just as a detective. I don't like the farfetched ending -- the means of death here was just silly. Impossible to see coming. Book #1 in this series was pretty far-fetched, too. C'mon, Ms. Malliet, give us a chance.
Mar 14, 2017 Sarah rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2017 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, audiobook
A usually entertaining book to listen to while packing & cleaning, but I also found it easy for it to become background noise & to miss plot points. There may be something about the voice quality of the narrator that made this easier, which is too bad as I enjoyed the overall story.

Overall, fun mystery, but not overly enthralling.
Delightful mystery to listen to on my work commute. Not quite a "comfort" mystery, it does require more attention than that, but there are some interesting aspects to the story and yet is suited to listen to during a work commute.
Bonnie Ainsworth
Mar 01, 2017 Bonnie Ainsworth rated it liked it
This is not my usual style of reading so I had a difficult time getting into it. That being said, I did manage to finish the series. I hope others he try to read this one will get more out of it than I did.
Dec 09, 2014 Meaghan rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Okay, so perhaps I should have started at the beginning of this series instead of with this, the third book, but it was all I could find at my store and I was desperate to read a new mystery novel. I'm not sure if I would like this book more if I had started at the beginning of the series or not. When I started this book it reminded me of the assignments I had been given in school in which they told students to write a paragraph about something and to make it as detailed as possible. I felt that ...more
Cherie Bush
Feb 17, 2017 Cherie Bush rated it really liked it
I really like this author and this series.
Jul 13, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
St. Michael's College at Cambridge is strapped for cash, so they throw a reunion weekend for a very select gathering of wealthy alums who all attended during the same year. Among them are two Americans, a famous British author and his wife who also have a son/stepson at the college, a fellow of the college, and a woman famous for being beautiful, fashionable, and hopelessly in love with her former husband--the British author who left her for his current wife, who was also at college--and pregnan ...more
My mom received a copy of the third St. Just mystery courtesy of Midnight Ink (thank you!) at a 10-year birthday celebration the publisher hosted at the 2015 Malice Domestic conference, and she kindly shared it with me. While I was familiar with the Max Tudor series written by this author, this series was new to me. Like the Max Tudor series, this one is set in England but the protagonist is a police officer. Detective Chief Inspector Arthur St. Just is called to the (fictitious) St. Michael's C ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Janet rated it really liked it
This was my favorite St. Just mystery, so far. I enjoyed seeing him settling into some happiness for himself. St. Just is a great character, as is his Sargeant Fears, who may be my favorite. We learn most of what we know about St. Just's mannerisms and strengths as a DCI through Fears' observations.

The mystery is set at St. Michael's college at Cambridge. A group of wealthy alumni are gathered for a weekend in hopes that they will donate to the financially challenged college. When One of them t
Sep 12, 2011 Lucinda rated it really liked it
Death at the Alma Mater (Midnight Ink 2010) takes place at St. Michael’s, a deteriorating college at the University of Cambridge. In the hope of encouraging donations, seven wealthy alumni have been invited back for an Open Weekend. The group, who all attended St. Mike’s during the same time period nearly two decades earlier, includes a TV reporter, a socialite, an author, an academic, a dotcom millionaire, and a financier. Lexy Laurant, the socialite, was married for a short period to Sir James ...more
Feb 13, 2017 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Another nice quick read with enjoyable characters
May 03, 2012 Angie rated it liked it
Not a bad read, but I have come to have high expectations for Malliet, and this one doesn't really live up to her other books, notably Wicked Autumn.
The characters were particularly weak. They were too cardboard to be GOOD characters but not outrageous enough to be entertaining caricatures. Perhaps this affected me more than it would have if I had not felt she did an especially bad job on the three American characters, whom she regarded as either extremely unpleasant or worthy of ridicule. She a
Chi Dubinski
Jan 03, 2016 Chi Dubinski rated it it was amazing
St. Michael’s College, always a lesser known college of the University of Cambridge, has fallen on hard times, although it was never particularly flush. The college administration decides to invite well know alumni for a weekend in order to plead their case, and hopefully gather some generous donations.
Things could get dodgy, what with Sir james’ ex-wife and her Argentinian playboy lover in attendance. There’s also a Texas oilman, a television journalist, an American financier and his wife, and
May 19, 2016 Jordan rated it liked it
A decent enough middle-tier mystery novel, though the ending was rather unsatisfying with a rather ridiculous resolution of the murder investigation. Detective St. Just is alright, but I think I would have enjoyed the novel more with increased emphasis on Portia as she seems the more interesting of the two and quite competent enough in her own way. The novel involves a murder occurring during an alumni donor’s weekend at a poorly achieving Cambridge college; the guests are all wealthy, some famo ...more
Sep 02, 2013 Caroline rated it liked it
Shelves: murder-mystery
Who would have thought a fund-raising weekend of wealthy alumni members at St Michael's college in Cambrige, England would be interrupted by the murder of one of the members?

With a handful of suspects to interview and investigate backgrounds on, St Just is still faced with building a portrait of a woman who, by all accounts was a flighty glamour-puss still yearning for her lost love, while having to endure a weekend reunion with her ex-husband and the woman who who replaced her as his wife.

Mar 18, 2015 Tracylee rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
(For the Audio Book version)
Pales in comparison to Malliet's other novels.

This was an okay listen. It's well narrated, and the characters are fun, like Malliet's other St. Just novels. However - this one really left me feeling flat. It seems to get tied up too quickly, without really having left proper clues. It's as though the author got tired of writing and said, "well, I'll just make this character be the culprit". The characters also were not as well developed as in some other books by this
Feb 22, 2015 Jakalak rated it it was ok
Shelves: overdrive
This one was tough to finish. The characters started off as caricatures and didn't develop from there. The plot consisted of a murder and then a long series of interviews where characters re-hash said murder. Even the detective at the center of it all wasn't particularly intriguing or complex. Plus, the resolution of the mystery was laughably contrived. I think that this is supposed to be a sort of spoofy take on the classic Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, but unfortunately the author wasn ...more
Jan 17, 2010 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-england
A reunion of potential donors to Cambridge University's St. Michael's college becomes a disaster when beautiful, flighty Lexy Laurant is found strangled. Among the suspects are her ex-husband, his current wife, Lexy's suave boyfriend, three overprivileged Americans, and the student who discovered her body and who has links to some of the guests (one of whom is his mother). Fortunately for Detective Chief Inspector St. Just, his inamorata Portia is working on her thesis at St. Mike's, and is able ...more
Mar 26, 2014 Nancy rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I probably enjoyed this light mystery more than some readers because I spent time working in universities, as well as time toiling away as a professional fund-raiser. So, the setting and "set-up" were very familiar to me and gave me an opportunity to look back with no regrets, and an occasional smirk. The rather transparent "entertainment" of the alumni population made me smile--and the characterization of the College leadership also amused me.

My demands for this kind of book are simple: divert
Nov 14, 2013 Melanie rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Disappointing. I liked her other book, Death and the Lit Chick, much better. In this one, the murder happens too early on - before I had even straightened out who was whom - and the characters themselves turned out to be pretty underdeveloped. I didn't much care about any of them. The solution bordered on preposterous in this one, and it was also a little unfair, as the detective knew things that the reader was never privy to. I like the detective character overall, and I'd like to read more mys ...more
Rita	 Marie
Feb 10, 2013 Rita Marie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-mysteries
Malliet has hit her stride in this book. It completely captures that 1930's style of writing while gently poking fun at it. We have a classic set of Cambridge characters assembled for a reunion, including some deliciously stereotypical Americans. A murder ensues, of course, and much effort is needed to solve the puzzle, with the solution being presented in classic fashion with all assembled at the end. The methods used in the crime are a teensy bit contrived and not so plausible, but it really d ...more
May 19, 2010 Tig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is the third installment in the Agatha Award-winning St. Just mystery series. I enjoyed reading it. The setting is Cambridge, England. The main character, Detective Chief Inspector St. Just, reminds me of the English detectives from the old-fashioned British mysteries. The plot was well constructed, it took me awhile to figure out who the murderer was. I wasn't able to figure out how the murder was accomplished. Had to wait for the big unveil in the final chapter. Looking forward to when th ...more
May 16, 2010 Judy rated it liked it
St. Michael's College at Cambridge is one of the smaller and less known of the Cambridge colleges and, as a result, is always in need of money. To help with this situation, a group of wealthy alumni who were all at St. Michael's at the same time are invited to a weekend reunion and fundraiser and, of course, one of them gets killed. The investigation is pure throw back to the golden age of mystery so, of course, I enjoyed it immensely. There is even the classic gathering of the suspects at the e ...more
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G.M. Malliet’s first St. Just mystery won the 2008 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as a best book of the year. It was nominated for several awards, including the Anthony, the Macavity, and a Left Coast Crime award for best police procedural. She has since been nominated for nearly every major crime-writing award, including the Anthony (audiobook and short story) ...more
More about G.M. Malliet...

Other Books in the Series

St. Just Mystery (3 books)
  • Death of a Cozy Writer (St. Just Mystery #1)
  • Death and the Lit Chick (St. Just Mystery #2)

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