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A Bed of Scorpions

(Sam Clair #2)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,029 ratings  ·  200 reviews

What’s an editor to do with so many demands? Do you deal with the morning’s pile of manuscript submissions first? Or the swine from sales who steals all the chocolate digestives? Or do you concentrate on your ex-lover, whose business partner has just been found dead in their art gallery, slumped over his desk with a gun in his hand?

It’s another day at Timmins & Ross pu

Kindle Edition, 319 pages
Published March 19th 2015 by Allison & Busby
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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An entertaining read and one that doesn't suffer from the plot over complication that marred the first Sam Clair book, A Murder of Magpies. Some readers complain that Sam's character doesn't feel consistent with the first book, but I guess I didn't pay enough attention to the first book, but if it is the case it didn't bother me. This is a classic amateur detective novel and the fun for me here is in the snarkiness commingled with vulnerability of Sam's voice, the warm cast of supporting charact ...more
Dale Harcombe
Samantha Clair, usually known as Sam, works at Timmins and Ross publishing house. When a friend of hers dies suddenly, Sam’s CID boyfriend is called in to investigate. Maybe Frank Compton’s death is not suicide as his partner believes at all. When another man connected to the art gallery ends up dead, it seems there is more than a loose connection between the two deaths.
This is not exactly a fast paced murder mystery. The characters are largely what move this story along. Plus the snarky voice
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. As good as the first book in the series was, this "scorpions" has a BETTER plot. But it also contains the same issue which doesn't allow the round up to a 5 star. It gets into the technical and associative business world of publishing so much that there are long periods at the mid-points that many readers (oh NOT me) will get glassy eyed.

Honestly, I feel that these Sam Clair books were written just for me. Very strange indeed. I can't remember ever having that feeling about an entire
First Sentence: The summer was rumbling on the way summer usually does in publishing, and I was ready to murder someone.

Book editor Samantha (Sam) Clair learns that the partner of her friend and ex-boyfriend, art dealer Art Merriam, has just been found dead in his office with a gun in his hand. Leading the investigation is Sam's new boyfriend, Insp. Jake Field. After other deaths, Sam's knowledge of publishing leads to her becoming a target. Can they find the killer before the killer finds Sam?
Takes place in the London publishing and art worlds. The main character is an editor, the victim is a gallery owner, and the main character's boyfriend is a Scotland Yard detective. There's lots of interesting stuff; I enjoy mysteries where I learn a bit about something I didn't know anything about before.

Mixed feelings about the main character. She's a little Bridget Jones-y: self-deprecating, funny, and tending to get into scrapes through carelessness. I was frustrated by the conversations sh
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am enjoying this mystery series which features Sam Clair who is an editor for a publishing company. Sam is smart and has an sarcastic wit. She seems very life like and not just a character in a book. The information of the publishing industry was very informative and interesting. I enjoyed the repeating characters very much and look forward to reading more about them in the next book. The mystery was different than many other books and I did not have it solved at all. I have read both books bu ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the second book featuring Sam Clair and her Scotland Yard detective boyfriend, Jake Field. This time they are investigating illegal goings on in the art world. A former lover of Sam's - Aidan - meets her for one of their occasional lunches but he is clearly not in the mood for idle chit chat. He found his business partner, Frank, dead that morning in an apparent suicide which is currently being treated as an unexplained death by the police.

What follows is a fast paced crime story with pl
Jamie Collins
This is a little better than the first book, but the setting is still the draw, rather than the mystery plot.

Here our intrepid book editor meets up with an old friend who owns an art gallery, and learns that his business partner has evidently committed suicide. The case is being investigated by Sam's detective inspector boyfriend, and despite her reluctance to get involved, Sam again finds herself sleuthing and being attacked by mysterious assailants.

I liked that Sam's big contribution to solvin
Feb 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: cozy mystery fans especially those who like art or books
A good second installment of the Sam Clair series. I quite loved the first book and somehow missed this one when it came out. I liked it enough to read the next but not as much as I liked the first.

I found this one a little sluggish in places but I was able to suss out who the murderer was fairly early on. I couldn't believe I was correct after all the twists, turns & red-herrings. What I most liked about this one were all the bits about the publishing industry & of course, Sam's winsome person
A Bed of Scorpions is the second in the Sam Clair series by Judith Flanders, but it is the first I read. Actually, I listened to the audiobook from my library, which was great. I liked the book enough to go out and buy the hardcover, so I can read it again. Sam Clair is an editor an a mid-size publishing house in London. She's in her early 40s, and she's very competent. She goes to lunch to see an old friend (ex-boyfriend), and she finds out his gallery partner was just found dead in his office ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2020
The worlds of book publishing, art dealers and murder cross in this fairly entertaining mystery. I haven't read the first in the series and picked this up pretty much at random, but it turned out to be a quick and engaging read. If only I hadn't spent quite so much time wanting to smack protagonist Sam's cop boyfriend, who unfortunately happens to be one of those irritating characters who express their worry about the safety of someone they care about by shouting at them and ordering them around ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judith Flanders is a truly formidable writer but her mysteries lack pizzaz.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Sam Clair, my favorite murder mystery heroine, is back in this second installment, and man did I ever miss her:

In theory, I run first thing in the morning, although people who really run might take issue with that verb when applied to my early-morning outings.

Seriously? A woman named Delia named her child Celia? And she wasn’t convicted of child cruelty?

Sam’s adventures in A Bed of Scorpions turns a little more sinister with the death of her ex-lover’s business partner. Her ex-lover turns to her
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This whodunit has witty dialog and interesting characters. There's a nice balance between characterization and plot development. Lovely series. ...more
Cathy Cole
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Judith Flanders' first Samantha Clair mystery, A Murder of Magpies, and I'm happy to say that my enjoyment increased to love with her second book. Everything seems to sparkle in A Bed of Scorpions. Samantha Clair is sarcastic, cynical, and has a ready repertoire of information culled from all the reading she's done. Not all of you may like sarcastic wit, but I love it when it's done well-- and it is here. Sam's got a tough act to follow-- her maternal unit is not only the perfec ...more
Linda Baker
I was delighted to have the opportunity to read the second book in the Sam Clair Mystery series, as I enjoyed the first, A Murder of Magpies, so much. Sam Clair is a 40ish editor in a British publishing house. Witty, sarcastic and endlessly curious, Sam never lets go when she gets a problem between her teeth. This time, the problem starts when she has lunch with an old friend and former lover, art dealer Aidan Merriam. The very morning of the lunch Aidan discovered the body of his partner in bus ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A Bed of Scorpions by Judith Flanders. I loved A Murder of Magpies by Flanders and was excited when this arrived in the mail. Another beautiful cover.

Flanders again fills the reader in about many of the problems and conflicts involved in publishing. While people who love to read enjoy learning a bit about how books reach the public, Flanders may have spent a little too much time on the details at the beginning of the book.

However, when Samantha Clair leaves her office to have lunch with old fri
Compared to the first book of the series I rate this as a 3. I quite enjoyed "A Murder of Magpies" with the heroine's pithy observations and comments but in #2 Sam seemed a bit muffled...

Observant and witty, yes, but there seemed to be too much to really focus the narrative clearly and pointedly. In order to keep the mystery from being solved there were a couple of characters and plot points that were more of a narrative dead end, without providing much in the way of amusement or satisfaction, a
I think I would still classify this as a cozy mystery, but it's one of the best I've ever read. I would absolutely read a book about the main character's life, even without the mystery.

The book is written in the first person, which isn't always my favorite, but it felt very natural here. Our narrator is Sam, a woman who works in publishing for a small publishing house in London. She's normal and mildly sarcastic, three-dimensional without any forced quirkiness.
I drink three very large cups of c
Jul 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Firstly, I want to say that, as I read this novel, I want to be Sam Clair.

I mean, who does not want to be her when you're her age (40s)? She works in the publishing industry, has a good looking boyfriend, and a satisfying sex life.

Having said that, Sam's thoughts are worth a book of its own. She is humourous, sarcastic, and her thoughts are so right-on-tune that you wish that she's your best friend.

And I love the dynamics that she has with her boyfriend, who also happens to be investigating th
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Judith Flanders is my favorite author find in ages. Her two mysteries - A Murder of Magpies and A Bed of Scorpions - feature an editor in a publishing house with a police detective boyfriend. They combine humor with some danger and romance and an interesting look at the publishing business. I absolutely loved them both.
MB (What she read)
3.5 stars. I enjoyed that. Particularly two scenes: (view spoiler). I enjoyed the setting in the world of fine art sales and publishing. I now know more about (view spoiler)

Nice to see the relationship developing. I like Sam's decisive, confident and sure of herself personality. (Why is it that I read so many doormat female characters, that I feel the need to call
Lisa Ks Book Reviews
A BED OF SCORPIONS was a step away from the cozy mysteries I normally read and review. However, it was sent to mt to review, so I gave it a chance.

Well written, with an interesting plot and characters, I enjoyed almost all of this book. A tad edgier than traditional cozies, it also contained what most would consider mild language, but used a few too many times for me.

Those who follow my reviews for the types of cozy mysteries I enjoy may not find this story for them. But those who like to bran
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, fiction, library, mystery
I really am enjoying this series - it's smart, and snarky which we all know are my favorite things in a mystery novel. Throw in a bit of cynical feminist observation and I'm sold. If you think all those sound like your cup of coffee, or you're looking for a mystery series set within the London publishing world give this one a try. ...more
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tore through this. A second outing with these characters, and I liked them even more than before. I enjoy Sam Clair's voice and personality, and the secondary characters continue to be robustly painted. I loved the detail of the publishing industry, and how it felt both interesting and relevant. And I enjoyed the mystery. All around good. ...more
An enjoyable light read, with some good plot twists (view spoiler). Humorous but not hilarious. I loved all the publishing details, and the secondary characters were interesting and well-drawn. The cover is particularly great--though the title is somewhat obscure.... ...more
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sam Clair is back and as fun as ever. She is meeting with an ex for lunch and discovers that his business partner has been killed and he needs help. Of course, current beau Jake is investigating the murder. I liked the mix of mystery and publishing life and sort of wish for more of the latter. It was one of the best parts of her first book. Still, a fun read and great for book lovers
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
didnt enjoy this one as much as the first in the series wasn't as witty but maybe the next in the series will be better ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it even better than the first.
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Judith Flanders was born in London, England, in 1959. She moved to Montreal, Canada, when she was two, and spent her childhood there, apart from a year in Israel in 1972, where she signally failed to master Hebrew.

After university, Judith returned to London and began working as an editor for various publishing houses. After this 17-year misstep, she began to write and in 2001 her first book, A Cir

Other books in the series

Sam Clair (4 books)
  • A Murder of Magpies
  • A Cast of Vultures (Sam Clair, #3)
  • A Howl of Wolves (Sam Clair, #4)

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