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Joan Hess
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Murder as a Second Language

(Claire Malloy #19)

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  750 ratings  ·  129 reviews
Claire Malloy-now a married woman of leisure-tries her hand at volunteering, but instead lands her right in the middle of another murder investigation Longtime bookseller and single mother, Claire Malloy has recently married her long term beau and moved out of her less than opulent apartment into a sprawling, newly remodelled house. Her daughter, Caron, is making plans for ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published July 31st 2014 by Policy Press (first published May 7th 2013)
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Average rating 3.35  · 
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In this 19th book in the 'Claire Malloy' series, the bookstore owner/amateur sleuth investigates the death of an ESL student. The book can be read as a standalone, but knowing the characters is advantageous.


Claire Molloy, who was single for many years, recently married Deputy Chief Peter Rosen of the Farberville Police Department. They live in a lovely home with Claire's college-bound daughter Caron.

Caron and her pal Inez plan to pad their college applications by volunteering at the
Laura Salas
I used to really enjoy this series, but this was the first title I've read in a while. Claire seemed whiny and not all that likeable (gee, I wonder where Caron gets it from?). I made it about 1/2 of the way through and realized I just didn't care who the killer was. There was no tension and nothing at stake for Claire, who is apparently now just looking for things to fill her days since she's not needed at the bookstore. Very disappointed.
Cute, fast read although I wonder if the whole Claire Malloy franchise is getting a little stale. In this latest edition, Claire and her husband, the gorgeous Peter, and her wisecracking daughter, Caron, are living in Claire's dreamhouse - a lovely Victorian with a library, pool and more. Ah, life is good! She is no longer actively involved in the day to day runnings of her bookstore, so she's bored. She's decided to do her own version of Cooking With Julia. Alas, her family is less than ...more
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had been wondering how things would go once Claire was a lady of leisure, married to a rich, handsome husband? Answer: boringly. I pretty much had to force myself to read the second half of the book through inertia and skimming.
Karen Douglass
Too much stock-in-trade for my taste. I finished it but the protagonist was unappealing. She has a fine life and is not much engaged in it. If a real character owned a bookstore, had a teenage daughter and a loving second husband, I think she would spend less time feeling useless.
May 15, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Always (to my mind at least) the lesser of Joan Hess' two main protagonists, Claire Malloy loses even more of her luster in her latest outing. Maybe she just came off as more sympathetic of a character when her overbearing self-regard, unrelenting acerbity and unlikeable pushiness were lightened with the economic and romantic woes of a single mother trying to raise a teenage daughter and keep a struggling business afloat. Maybe Ms Hess has just lost her knack for giving this particular character ...more
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed all the Claire Malloy books I've read (which is most of them, except for 2 I couldn't get from the library), and it isn't even necessarily because of the murder or whatever mystery Claire is snooping around trying to solve. I seldom figure it out so it's usually a surprise at the end anyway. But my main reason for enjoying this series is the characters: Claire and Peter, Caron and Inez, regulars like Jorgeson and Miss Parchester, and Claire's science-fiction hippie customer (sadly ...more
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wasn't sure I was liking this one at first. Claire Malloy is feeling somewhat adrift and without purpose since her sweet new husband has moved her into the house of her dreams and hired a clerk to run her small bookstore. Her sense of boredom pervades the first third of the book until, surprise, a murder that she might have an insider's advantage at solving, gives her something of interest to dive into. By the end I was having trouble following all the various plotlines (I listened to the book ...more
Dec 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was revisting a old friend but she is not as interesting to me and story/plot line wavered towards the end !!!
Jul 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrible book. I only bought it because it was on the bargain rack at Barnes & Noble and I'm an ESL teacher for adults so I thought it would be right up my alley. Wrong!! I guess this is a series but I hadn't read any of the other books so this was my first introduction to Claire Malloy. She's one of those female characters who doesn't do anything but stick her nose where it doesn't belong and get in trouble with her handsome police officer husband who can't seem to solve the very ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fine entry with Claire, Peter, Caron and Inez and a host full of new characters in our favorite southern city, Faberville. Claire is happily married and apparently bored to tears, so much so that she takes up French cooking. When Caron and Inez volunteer at the literacy council, Claire sees an opportunity and ends up on the Board. When a Polish student is murdered, Claire is once again all in to try to solve this murder (to Peter's continuing chagrin).

Snappy dialog and red herrings all
Sep 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yeah this book is kind of racist. I started to write some examples but then thought, “Why bother?” It just is casually and unapologetically racist. And kind of half finished because it never explains why one character ends up in the hospital, apparently poisoned. Unless I missed that at some point when trying to get past the cringeworthy Chinese patois or the main character whining about how put upon she is even though she doesn’t work anywhere and does anything she pleases. Her daughter’s a ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fun read! This is one of those where one moment, I knew "who-dun-it", the next chapter, I'd change my mind to yet a different person, next chapter, back to the 1st one...I juggled about 3 total, then when the guilty party was revealed, I thought "I knew it!" Fast read, hard to put down, and perfect for my situation. I am taking classes right now at a tech school, so I would read in between the classes. I would LOVE to read more from this author!
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Enjoyable installment in the Claire Malloy series.

When newly married Claire gets tired of trying to master the intricacies of French haute cuisine, she decides to volunteer at her town's Literacy Council. Informed that she just missed the mandatory training program to become an ESL tutor, she is instead roped into
Debi Boggs
Mar 02, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book last night. I have read most of the Claire Malloy books and truly enjoyed them. I enjoyed the writing style and found them to be great entertainment. However, I did not get far in this book. The dialogue containing stereotypical characterization of a Japanese accent was extremely offensive. I am saddened that a writer I enjoyed displayed such bigotry.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A perfect example of why I don't read amateur detective novels: they always come off as busy bodies who stick their noses where they don't belong and yet people mysteriously answer their questions. Add the constant casual racism, and this one hit a big low....
May 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Since I enjoyed book#18, I was expecting book#19 to be at least as good. It wasn't, because the characters were unlikeable, even the main ones.
Sherry Mackay
Well no I didn’t finish it. Too too boring my dears.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
slightly racist
Jackie R
May 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Silly cozy. At least she never put herself at risk, but definitely a bore.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thank you for the read...
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed her sense of humour.
Sarah Mae
Getting boring now that Claire is remarried and living in the lap of luxury. She volunteers at the local literacy council and gets caught up in solving a murder and other crimes.
Susan B
ok a good book for the summer
Suspense Magazine
Claire Malloy returns in the nineteenth novel featuring the sleuthing bookstore owner. Claire is adjusting to married life in a new house as well as the free time made possible by a clerk who handles the bookstore’s daily chores. She’s going stir crazy and testing the patience of her husband and daughter with her attempts at French cooking. She ends up trying to volunteer as an English as a Second Language tutor with her daughter and her daughter’s best friend, but instead ends up elected— ...more
PEI Public Library Service
Life is now good for Claire Malloy, bookstore owner and amateur sleuth. After many years of struggle as a single parent supporting herself and her daughter Caron, Claire Malloy has married her boyfriend (and Deputy Police Chief) Peter. The family’s financial situation is secure and Claire, Peter and Caron have recently moved into Claire’s dream home. With her bookstore being run by a very capable employee, Claire now has time on her hands to pursue other interests. When her attempts to learn ...more
The Claire Malloy Mystery novels follow Claire Malloy, a bookstore owner in a small college town, where she lives with her teenage daughter Caron. Constantly stumbling into trouble, Claire also always seems to stumble upon the answer, much to the annoyance of her beau, Deputy Chief Peter Rosen.

In the latest installment, Murder as a Second Language, Claire has recently married Peter and moved to a beautiful house outside of town. With the bookstore being run by hired help, and Caron busy being a
This was a bit of a disappointment. Until now I've been a loyal fan of the Claire Malloy series but may have to rethink continuing with the series. Claire is happily married and her daughter Caron is getting ready to graduate, however Claire has way too much free time on her hands now that she has hired someone to handle running her book store. This seems to mean that she has absolutely nothing else to do besides drive around town asking people all sorts of nosy questions. While that is fairly ...more
Jan 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bookstore owner Claire Malloy becomes involved with a center that offers English lessons to speakers of other languages. Soon enough, someone is murdered. Who done it? And why are the staff members so mysterious? And why do the board members clash so much? With almost a dozen murder suspects to question and several other mysteries to solve, Claire jumps into action.

I prefer the earlier Claire Malloy mysteries, when Caron spoke in Capital Letters more often and when Peter was more annoyed by
Diana Gotsch
Not a bad book. Just not quite what a Claire Malloy mystery is usually like. While I have always liked the Mappody series better, the comments on culture's stranger behaviors in the Malloy series were fun to read. This does not poke fun at the sillier side of society in the same way as previous outings. ,Her daughter Caren is showing signs of maturing into a young woman. That I suppose is a good thing, but I miss the self centered teenager from earlier books. Claire seems a little lost. The ...more
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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

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)