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Deader Homes and Gardens (Claire Malloy #18)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  876 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
Claire Malloy discovers that house-hunting can be murder—literally—in the latest entry in Joan Hess's "wildly entertaining series." (Mystery Scene)

Back from her somewhat unusual honeymoon, Claire Malloy must face the harsh reality of life with her new husband, police chief Peter Rosen, and her teenage daughter Caron—three people simply can't fit into her cosy two bedroom a
ebook, 304 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Minotaur Books (first published February 1st 2012)
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Apr 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-cozy
Okay - now I remember why I stopped reading this series. Claire Mallory is so self-absorbed, so self-centered and so full of her herself, she gets unbearable after awhile. I'm sure this is supposed to be tongue in cheek and funny, but it doesn't come off that way; at least not to me.

She also seems to think she is better at investigating murders than the police; even though her new husband is a police official. (I guess she is in a sense - this is a series about her.) The police don't have the s
Lynne Tull
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
If I remember correctly, I had decided not to read any more "Claire Malloy" mysteries. However, I read the book jacket and thought I would give them another chance. It seems that Claire has married her long time 'friend' Police Chief Peter Rosen. I thought perhaps Ms. Hess was going to let the marriage segue into this series with Chief Rosen as the main character. least for this book. I was still subjected to Ms. Malloy's annoying, interfering style in order to solve a mystery that re ...more
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am just not so thrilled about these recent entries in the Claire Malloy series. In this, Claire is recently married and in search of a larger domicile for her, new husband (and deputy chief) Peter Rosen, and daughter Caron. Claire falls in love with a house in a secluded valley inhabited by a nutty extended family, the Hollows. But before she can put an offer down, her real estate agent disappears.

The rest of the book involves a twisted and turning plot and various revelations. This has to be
Jul 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although I'm not a huge fan of the Claire Malloy books, they've always held my interest. The author's attempts at humor aren't to my taste, and I find the sleuth's teenager daughter totally irritating but the mysteries are usually diverting. However, I do not read cozy mysteries to be taught social justice lessons by a liberal author.
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why is it that certain writers employ the wife of a policeman sleuth ploy? This is the first of this series that I have read--got it at the bookmobile--and probably won't pick this author again. This character, Claire Malloy is quite an annoying person about which to read. She is self centered and seems to think that everyone should do what she wants. On page 77--"I was increasingly annoyed by people's inability to remain where I wanted them to be. First Angela, then Terry, and now Nattie had ta ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a fan of cozy mysteries, Joan Hess has two very entertaining series - the Claire Malloy series, which takes place in "Farberville," Arkansas, a fictional college town, and the Maggody series, with female sheriff Arly Hanks. I love both series, and have read them all. I recommend starting with the first one and just keeping on, but they do stand on their own, as well. Either way, enjoy!
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hess is a decent writer to return to now and then...her characters are predictable and the plot is easy, though I think this book was about 50-75 pages too long. I miss Claire being in the book store and wish Hess would write this series a bit more so I can return to it more often, but this seems to be "when she has time". It's a quick read with little demanding of the reader with some interesting characters, but they really have the "been there done that" feel if you are a reader.
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have read most of this series. I have enjoyed most of them but this one is my least favorite. Claire Malloy is so pushy and annoying in this book that I started disliking her by the second chapter. The whole plot just seemed forced. Not sure if I'll be buying another Claire Malloy mystery -- maybe a library checkout.
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It has been a while since I've read anything in the Claire Malloy series. Now I remember why. What an annoying woman.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Even though it got off to a slow start, Deader Homes and Gardens by Joan Hess turned out to be an entertaining cozy mystery. It had all the elements that I enjoy in a cozy mystery: a strong female protagonist; a countryside mansion with beautiful gardens; quirky characters; and a mild murder (actually three), with no gruesome violence. It was definitely predictable, but I still enjoyed listening to the audio version.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-states-2017
Joan Hess is a very good writer who manages to have touches of humor in a book that is a cozy murder mystery. Trying to find your dream home when your realtor actually disappears and dead bodies appear does not daunt Clair Malloy and her teenage assistants. I will definitely read more Joan Hess books!
Skimmed this book through Overdrive. After her honeymoon in Egypt, Claire Malloy, husband and daughter are looking for their ideal home. Enjoy Hess's humor overall, but had some trouble following this plot and unique characters.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, you find your dream home and then everything seems to go wrong, very wrong. Wading through the problems seems to be uncertain but Claire and Caron are determined. Very good read!
Deb Marra-Yurek
I have been reading the Claire Malloy mysteries by Joan Hess for years. This was the first one I in quite a while. It is definitely not her best although it wasn't bad; I still enjoyed it.
Thomas Bruso
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joan Hess's spirited 18th Claire Malloy mystery, "Deader Homes and Gardens" is a cut- above most cozy mysteries.

Back on her home turf in Farberville, Arkansas, busybody bookshop owner, on-the-side amateur sleuth and newlywed wife, Claire Malloy, along with incessant nitpicker/daughter, Caron, and handsome, hardworking hubby/police chief, Peter Rosen, are all on the trail for a new house--and a few dead bodies.

Along the lines of Hess's sprightly "The Goodbye Body", the new Claire Malloy mystery o
Reggie Billingsworth
I think I agree with others at advising that readers give this one a 'miss'.

While her married status has not improved Claire's sense of self-preservation, Caron and Inez have grown up more, yet are just as solidly in their stereotypes with the total absence of the cop-husband a highly convenient coincidence.

The protagonist is cringe-ily embarrassing in her expectation that all should step to her demands, even though I realise much of this attitude is deliberate on the author's part for comic eff
Diane Majeske
Home from her honeymoon, living in a cramped apartment with her handsome new husband and snarky teen-age daughter, Claire Malloy longs for a home of her own.

Not just any home, mind you. A big, beautiful house with a garden, a porch and room to breathe. She finds one, too - only that's when things start going wrong. The real estate agent disappears, leaving her stranded on the property. And when Claire hunts down the closest thing to an owner, he practically collapses at her feet.

But that's only
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written tongue-in-cheek yet believable thriller.
I liked her literate style and yet very funny way of putting words together. Her creative descriptive style is often worth a chuckle of amused recognition.

The plot starts with a lovely house available for sale in an idyllic valley owned by descendants of a local family. The previous owner died. The surviving owner dies from poison in his vodka. The real estate agent disappears and is found dead.

Ms. Malloy, the eager house buyer, is very
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My book interview with her is here:

It's worth reading - the interview and the book

I'm interviewing Joan for this, which should be interesting because she's a friend and someone I play backgammon with every Monday and sometimes drive to the backgammon tournaments. But i'll try to be as objective as need be while admitting my personal bias.

Ironically I interviewed her once before 15 or so years ago when I was still a newspaper reporter and we were both in f
Tom Donaghey
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humour, comedy
DEADER HOMES AND GARDENS by Joan Hess is yet another in a fine line of comic mysteries. Claire Malloy, just back from their honeymoon, is looking for a home she can share with new husband Police Chief Peter Rosen and her daughter Karen. After fruitless searching, her real estate agent suggests a place that isn’t on the market yet but soon might be.
Of course it is the perfect home of Claire’s dreams. And of course murder soon follows.
The agent, who is in the middle of a messy divorce, goes mis
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Claire Malloy is now married to Deputy Chief Peter Rosen. They are house hunting. Claire finds the perfect house but her real estate agent disappeared and then the owner dies after he agrees to sell the house to her. Of course, as in almost all of Joan Hess's books, there is a whole group of weird and wacky people around. She decides that she will get her house and solve the mystery. This is another case of a nosy woman who does things that would make sure that anyone she accused of a crime woul ...more
Alannah Davis
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In #18 of the series, Claire Malloy has returned from her honeymoon to find that the apartment she shares with her teenaged daughter, Caron, has become too small now that a husband has been added. Afted some house-hunting, she finds the perfect house. Unfortunately, her real estate agent disappears in the middle of the showing. In her quest to obtain her dream home, Claire gets involved with her would-be neighbors in Hollow Valley.

The quirky cast of characters and the intricate storyline kept me
Another book so bad, I cannot even stomach it for any reason. It started out funny, and there was hope. The interaction with the main characters teenage daughter was hilarious, as it reminded me of living and dealing with my own teenagers at times. That was not enough to redeem the story further on as it progressed. An Insipid, silly, and off of the mystery subject "Down the Rabbit Hole" so called, "Mystery." It reminds me of mashed potatoes at a potluck long ago. You thought you were getting po ...more
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had decided after forcing myself to wade through the Egypt adventure that I was not going to read any more "Claire Malloy" mysteries. However, I found this at the library, read the book jacket and thought that I would give the series one more chance. Oops.

Here, Claire and her new husband Peter Rosen (they were on honeymoon in Egypt) are searching for a home, as neither his place nor hers is big enough.

As Claire finds the perfect house, things begin to go wrong, first with the realtor disappear
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
This was a delightful read. The Claire Malloy series is always a joy to read.

Claire is married and finding her flat just too small for herself, her new husband, and her teenaged (almost college-aged)daughter, Caron. Solution? A new house and preferably one already built and ready to move into.

As these things happen, Claire's realtor, Angela, finds the best house ever. There are some legal issues to solve, but, it is the one! As Claire dreams through the house, Angela drives off and leaves her st
Claire Malloy is one of my favorite cozy characters. Joan Hess is really great at making murder a laugh out loud event! In this edition, Claire has married Peter, member of the local police department, who also works with the FBI, son of a wealthy New England family. The two of them plus her teenage daughter, Caron, are all crammed into a 2 bedroom apartment above Claire's bookstore. Claire starts looking at houses with an agent. However nothing suits until the agent, Angela, tells her about an ...more
Dec 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio version of this book. It was a decent story and I didn't figure out who the murderer was before it was unveiled. But I guess I am just tired of cozy mysteries. Claire Malloy apparently owns a book store, but never works there yet is able to afford a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with an in-ground pool. Interesting....She also has some interactions with the reference librarian at her local library and says that the librarian was obviously annoyed with Claire's lack of computer sa ...more
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joan Hess is one of my favorite mystery writers. In this book, after recently getting married, Clair is house hunting for the perfect home. When she finds one, it comes with a murderous family and mysterious disappearances. She is forced to step in and solve the case, in hopes of getting the perfect home. Joan Hess always has plenty of humorous characters in her mysteries. This book is from the series is about Clair Malloy, a bookstore owner that has a penchant for getting involved in murders an ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-arkansas
Newly married bookseller Claire Malloy and policeman Peter Rosen badly need a new place to live. Claire's daughter Caron won't be going to college for another year, and there's just too much stuff and too little space in Claire's old apartment. Claire and her real estate agent look at virtually every house for sale in Farberville, but nothing is quite right--until they come to an ideal house in Hollow Valley. After cryptically telling Claire that it's not for sale, the agent, Angela, disappears. ...more
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, cozy
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Joan Hess was the author of both the Claire Malloy and the Maggody mystery series. Hess was a winner of the American Mystery Award, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Joan Hess also wrote a mystery series under the pseudonym of Joan Hadley.

Series contributed to:
. Crosswinds
. The Year's 25 Finest Crime and M
More about Joan Hess...

Other Books in the Series

Claire Malloy (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Strangled Prose (Claire Malloy, #1)
  • The Murder at the Murder at the Mimosa Inn (Claire Malloy, #2)
  • Dear Miss Demeanor (Claire Malloy, #3)
  • A Really Cute Corpse (Claire Malloy, #4)
  • A Diet to Die For (Claire Malloy, #5)
  • Roll Over and Play Dead (Claire Malloy, #6)
  • Death by the Light of the Moon (Claire Malloy, #7)
  • Poisoned Pins (Claire Malloy, #8)
  • Tickled to Death (Claire Malloy, #9)
  • Busy Bodies (Claire Malloy, #10)