Ellie's Reviews > Death of a Cozy Writer

Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet
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Apr 09, 11

bookshelves: fiction, favorites, humor
Read on April 09, 2011

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 keep them jumping. As usual, there are lethal consequences. The patriarch in this case is a fabulously successful (nice fantasy touch there!) writer but I was disappointed that this "book about books" hook was only tangentially touched upon. That, however, was my only disappointment.

The story is preceded by a cast of characters-a device of which I am particularly fond. I love to read the cast before I start the book, refer to it constantly while reading the book, and go over it after finishing the book to see if I missed any clues hidden in the list (don't expect me to give anything away here!). The book proceeds in a sprightly (not a word I get to use much, especially connected to murder) fashion to its Nick-and-Nora type finale with the cast of suspects all gathered together by the detective in charge (St. Just). This, btw, is another device to which I am especially partial. (btw, I hope you all noticed how I managed to keep those participles from dangling :D)

The writing is crisp and witty. The familiarity of the story and the characters is precisely what makes it feel cozy but Malliet pulls it off without becoming in any way stale. There were laugh out loud lines (not many books get me to do that, although I seem to have found several lately) and the story moved along at the perfect pace for me-a sort of trot, would be my description.

I recommend it to all cozy mystery fans, especially those who, like me, enjoy current wit mixed with a dash of nostalgia.
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