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

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3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  361 ratings  ·  52 reviews

BOOK 3 IN THE AGATHA AWARD-WINNING SERIES

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 spi

...more
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Published September 1st 2010 by Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD. (first published January 8th 2010)
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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...more
Laura
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
Sheila
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.
Megan
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.
Joanne
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.
Amy
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.
Nancy
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...more
Rebecca
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
Lucinda
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
Angie
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...more
Caroline
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.

Alth...more
Susan
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
Judy
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
Rita	 Marie
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
Melanie
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
Thomas Stama
Another solid murder mystery. Not fine literature but good boiler plate!
Tig
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
Gail
Detective Chief Inspector St. Just must solve the murder of a beautiful socialite at a reunion of wealthy graduates from St Michael's College in Cambridge. The puzzle is solved in the final chapter, when St. Just assembles the suspects in the lounge (comme Poirot!) and proceeds to pinpoint the murderer while explaining his rather improbable modus operandi. I love Malliet's writing, with its wry humour and atmospheric settings.
Caroline
Jun 10, 2010 Caroline rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
If you want a good mystery that's almost like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together, GM Malliet will fill the bill. There's not a lot of blood and gore but more of the DCI (Deputy Chief Inspector) Arthur St. Just interviewing all the suspects, listening to all the stories and making sense of everything. Fascinating characters, a little history of Cambridge and the DCI I love (he's so cool!) - this is a great read.
Stacielynn
I liked it and I was relieved to find that I did. I found the first in the series really entertaining and was terribly disappointed by the second. But the third time was a charm. It had interesting characters, a complex mystery, and an amusing narrative. It was a jolly good read.

One small niggle -- someday I'd like to find an American character who is neither a boor or a buffoon. Are we REALLY all that bad?
Kathy Moberg
Excellent! I loved Malliet's Death of a Cozy Writer, but was disappointed in the second book, Lit Chick, and thus put of reading #3. However, this one is very good. The Cambridge setting and the cast of potential donors are great fun, and St. Just and Fear are in top form. The explaination is perhpas a trifle weak, so I can't give it 5 stars, but it's recommended as a good, old fashioned, witty mystery.
Kevin K. Gillette
Loved it! This is a great series!
Bev
Third in this series that features Detective Chief Inspector St. Just, this mystery is set in the fictitious Cambridge college of St Michael's. Like the previous books it is a clever satire on murder mysteries, using various cliched character types and plot devices, mixing humour with suspense until the solution is reached. I hope there will be more of these romps in the future.
Mary Kay
How can you not like a book which sports characters such as Portia De'ath, Inspector St. Just, & Sergeant Fear?? Plus the setting is an impoverished college at Cambridge University during a reunion of well-to-do alums who are being hit up for contributions. One of the alums is murdered, of course, & a lot of dirty laundry from 1985 is aired in the course of the investigation.
Mary
This detective story was humming along nicely until the last several chapters when St. Just begins to unravel the crimes involved and it became clear that he knew about things--discovered evidence in particular--that the reader didn't know. The principle of fair play between author and reader is important in a mystery and Malliet broke that trust here.
Sarah
Pretty good for an Agatha Christie type mystery. My problem with these is when, as with this one in particular, all of the details necessary to solving the mystery are only revealed at the end. In other words, I didn't have a chance to "solve" it myself. But nonetheless good. Fun to read current British writing. I'll go back and read the first two.
Greg
My first adventure with Detective Chief Inspector St. Just was a rewarding one as I found the book very much to my liking. The setting and characters were very entertaining even though the story was very typical for the genre. It had the normal murder, slow-moving investigation and sudden revelations at the end to keep me interested and engaged.
Doris
The third in this series of cozy, English "country house" style mysteries. As the title suggests, it's set at a university. I enjoyed the characters and setting, and I'm happy to see St. Just's romance progressing. The mystery itself was less enthralling: it was really just an excuse to examine the characters.
Renee
With characters named De'Ath, Fear, St. Just, and Malenfant, how could you not enjoy this bit of British who-dun-it. There's a lot of character description as suspects and witnesses are questioned. Not a great deal of action, but a lot of using M. Poirot's 'leetle gray cells'.
Ann
Though I always love a mystery with an academic setting, this one seemed to drag a bit. So I found myself speed reading the last third. Malliet is a fine writer. But structuring the plot on the interviews of each of the "witnesses" didn't move the story along for me.
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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) Death of a Cozy Writer (A St. Just 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)

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