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A Howl of Wolves

(Sam Clair #4)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  426 ratings  ·  90 reviews
“Whip-smart” (Louise Penny) amateur sleuth Samantha Clair returns in the newest mystery from Judith Flanders, the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author of A Murder of Magpies.

Sam Clair figures she’ll be a good sport and spend a night out at the theater in support of her upstairs neighbors, who have small parts in a play in the West End. Boyfriend (a Sc
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Minotaur Books
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First Sentence: “There are thirteen dead people here.” Jake was accusing.

Book editor Sam Clair takes her Scotland Yard detective partner, Jake, to a West End play in which her neighbor. Kay, and her son, Bim, have small parts, along with the play’s director, Campbell Davison. The play is chock full of faux murders, until one is not faux at all. As Sam learns about Davison, the list of suspects grows. With another death, the need to find the killer becomes imperative.

Now this is an opening that
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I previously enjoyed the first three books featuring Sam Clair who is a book editor that gets drawn into solving murders. She is smart and witty. The cast of supporting characters makes me as reader want to keep up with their lives. One finds out about the life of an book editor which is interesting. However, this book was slow for me and I had trouble keeping interested in it. It seemed like not much was happening after the initial murder where a director was hanging on a hook in a play. It was ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book editor Samantha Clair and her significant other, CID Inspector Jake are at the first night of a play, The Spanish Tragedy, in which their neighbor has a small part, when a dead body is found right on the stage. Instead of saying more about the plot, however, I want to mention how wonderful it is to read something that is really well-written. Most of the time, we settle (or at least I do) for something that's more or less grammatical and well-punctuated if it tells an enjoyable story. Some w ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the fourth “Sam Clair” mystery, and my least favourite. There’s not a lot of action - much of the novel is Sam rehashing and or mulling over the “mystery”. And the now familiar secondary characters - her boyfriend, mother, assistant and neighbors- play their parts but don’t progress in any meaningful way. Frankly, the nuances of how Sam operates within the world of book editing intrigued me more than the murder plot.
Jamie Collins
Another fun contemporary mystery featuring Sam Clair, the London book editor who resolutely thinks of herself as antisocial while constantly meeting glamorous friends for lunch and attending all the best parties.

Her crowd is high-brow: the murder here is in a theater, while in earlier books we’ve had deaths connected to a museum and an art gallery.
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Starting at the end of a series like a champ, and strangely enough another book featuring murders committed during the staging of a play. A fine enough lay on the couch over a long weekend read.
Jul 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is a very chatty first-person narrator. Apparently the reader is supposed to be charmed by the notion that for her a murder mystery is what happens while she's busy with life's usual routine, and she's determined to chat about lots of life's usual routine details. Unfortunately her chat is not particularly interesting and I've heard her jokes before.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I gave this a 5 because of the humour which was a nice contrast to the tracking down of a murderer or murderers. Narrator Sam Clair is not a detective ; her live in partner is. But she gets subtly drawn in to the mystery of who killed the director of the play she and many others attended , all of whom witnessed the body as it was strung up onstage during the performance. Many thought it was a dummy with great makeup. Sam carries on with her job as an editor in a publishing business in London whi ...more
Wesley Sueker
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book, I really did, and I thought I would. Narrator Sam has a great sense of humor, the characters are memorable and lovable, and as someone who's worked in theatre, the setting was fun. I appreciated that even though Sam had a boyfriend, the subplot wasn't centered around their romance, but rather Sam's career as an editor. The story was a comfortable length as well.

Unfortunately (minor spoiler), the killer's reveal was seriously underwhelming. The clues that were dropped
I found this less entertaining than the other three, for the simple reason that she refers to the other books in the series, and I really didn't need to be reminded in the scope of a 230 page book what had happened in previous 230 page books. She is an amazing writer and her fiction is as hilarious as her historical work is informative.
Doug Murphy
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Love the main character and all those around her. This is a great, clever, well-written series. Here Sam helps solve a theatrical mystery.
MB (What she read)
3.5 stars. As always, with this series, I enjoyed this book.

I like Sam's wry sense of humor/turns of phrase and her drama free outlook on life. Mystery & Thriller
Prepare yourself for smart characters and witty dialogue in A HOWL OF WOLVES, the fourth and latest book in Judith Flanders’ critically acclaimed mystery series.

Samantha Clair, also known as Sam, is a book editor for a publishing house in London who loves research and how stories unfold. She shares a flat with her boyfriend, Jake Field, and her neighbors are a host of characters who readers will know from previous books. A HOWL OF WOLVES revolves around two of these neighbors: Anthony and his wi
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is due out May 15, 2018, so if you have not read the earlier books, begin with A Murder of Magpies, because you will want to read them all., in order.

Couldn't put it down, even though I was reading an eGalley on my phone, and it made me laugh aloud more than once. What more do you need to know?

I quite enjoyed another visit with Sam and her recurring characters who are working their way toward 3-dimentionality, and are getting closer with each book.. A Howl of Wolves takes us into the w
Cathy Cole
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
About the only disagreeable thing I have to say about A Howl of Wolves is that the mystery took a while to get going, but then I didn't particularly care. This is a series in which I love the main character, and I love the way the author writes so I can forgive some things that other readers cannot.

Samantha Clair is basically a good person who's worked in a self-absorbed business for years... so that self-absorption rubs off from time to time. I adore her sense of humor, and I think I could live
Jennifer Souers Chevraux
I’ve enjoyed following the travails of Sam Clair, but this fourth installment in Judith Flanders’ mystery series had some sloppy plot points and plodded along. Ms. Flanders’ prior mysteries in the series were page-turners, while unfortunately this one sat for long stretches on my bedside table. If there’s more Sam Clair to come, I hope the next story is more like Bed of Scorpions and Cast of Vultures.
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
A Howl of Wolves by Judith Flanders is the fourth installment in A Sam Clair Mystery series. Sam Clair and Jake Field are attending the opening night of The Spanish Tragedy in a West End theater. Their neighbor, Kay and her son, Bim are in the production. It is a macabre play with thirteen "deaths" and a lot of blood. In the beginning of the second half, the curtain pulls back to reveal the tenth faux body, and everyone is shocked when it is not the dummy. Someone has replaced the dummy with the ...more
Russell Atkinson
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sam(antha) Clair makes her fourth appearance in this mystery. Set in London and involving the theater and theater people (make that theatre since this is British through and through), the plot makes a cracking good start with the director of Thomas Kyd's 16th Century play The Spanish Tragedy being found suspended, dead, and in costume and stage makeup, when the curtain opens the third act. Based on other reviews I've read, this isn't the first theater-based mystery from this author.

Sam narrates
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! If I could give it more than 5 stars I would. I love the snarky voice of Sam, which hides a very soft heart, especially for the family she has found for herself and, beneath their rapier repartee, even her mother. Sam's extended family includes her partner, Jake, who, conveniently for a curious person who happens to be the main character in a cozy mystery series, is a detective with Scotland Yard. They have a unique and interesting relationship.

"'How are you?'
I didn't open my eyes, bu
Linda Baker
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sam Clair finds herself knee-deep in backstage intrigue when she and her boyfriend, a Scotland Yard detective attend a West End play, staged by famous director Campbell Davison. Her upstairs neighbors, Kay and Anthony, have small parts. Even their six-year-old, Bim, has a role in the play. Sam knows that the theater piece is called The Spanish Tragedy and is replete with gore, death, and revenge. The play more than lives up to its reputation when the final body is displayed, suspended from the r ...more
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a series built on mystery, humor, great characters, and enough snark from Sam’s mother Helena to keep readers coming back.

Being the supportive neighbor she is, Sam Clair agrees to go to the opening night of a new play in which Kay and her son Bim are appearing. Apparently, it is ghastly and grisly but no one was expecting the body dangling from the hook to be real. Yet it turns out to be the director, Campbell Davison strung up and covered in green makeup.

Days later the costume designe
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it

I like the Sam Clair mysteries—about an editor who keeps getting drawn into these murder investigations—a lot, though this one wasn’t the strongest one for me. The story here centers on a play featuring one of Sam's friends—and her friend's little boy—where someone is MURDERED. I love the characters and the descriptions here, and Flanders is very funny, but the mystery itself left me feeling a little flat (I correctly guessed the killer, perhaps due to an
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
When Sam Clair and her boyfriend go to the theater, it's not necessarily because they are excited about the play being performed - a somewhat bloody story - but because Sam's upstairs neighbor and her son are both in the cast. When the last scene happens, something seems off. That's because what is supposed to be a dummy of someone murdered is instead the actual director of the play.

Things only get weirder and scarier in the time following. As Sam tries to help her neighbors deal with the traged
Bebe (Sarah) Brechner
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love, love, love this series featuring a wonderfully witty London publishing editor Samantha Clair. It hits all the marks - a deeply entertaining main character with fascinating cohorts and intricate but realistic plots with backtones of the publishing world. Sam is a bit snarky and jaded but with an appealing personality and a warm heart, regardless. Sam loves what she does, but has a perfect take on the realities of the publishing industry. The subtle comments on Sam's longtime job editing a ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Howl of Wolves is the 4th Sam Clair Mystery written by author Judith Flanders. It can easily be read as a stand alone if you have not read the earlier books in the series.

Sam Clair is a book editor in London. Her partner Jake is with Scotland Yard. Sam's neighbor is appearing in a play so they attend. During the play, the director is found dead...hanging from the rafters when the curtain opens. The dead director, Campbell Davison, had many enemies.

With a big suspect list and a few twists, Sam
I started reading this series largely because of slm the reviews that mentioned how funny they were. I suspected I was missing some of the humor early on--oh, not that the earlier books didn't have humor, just that they didn't seem to qualify as hilarious. In this installment, I snorted, spewed my drink in at least one glorious spit-take, and chuckled off and on throughout. Sam's off-kilter perspective and introverted internal dialogues paired with her actual comments and reactions are priceless ...more
Stacey Lunsford
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sam attends the theater with Jake. The play is The Spanish Tragedy and her neighbor Kay and Kay's six-year-old son Bim both have small parts. During the play, a real corpse is substituted for a dummy and Sam is once again drawn into a murder investigation. Sam is one of my favorite fictional characters. She uses her extensive knowledge of books and research and editing skills to see patterns and interpret human behavior. The stories are also very amusing and whodunnit stays a mystery right up un ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Judith Flanders is brilliant. She writes beautifully, and is very funny, especially about Sam's job as an editor. Her characters are all different individuals, and she has a good ear for dialogue. As this book centres on a production of The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd, we learn a bit about action behind the scenes as well as on stage. Fortunately the plot of the novel is not as gruesome as Kyd's play, which Sam's boyfriend Jake points out, has 13 people dying on stage, and set the fashion for ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Her best yet. Very #metoo, but with women banding together to get their own back.

(view spoiler)
The latest Sam Clair series - I love these books set in the London publishing world.

Sam's neighbours are actors in a Jacobean revenge play - on opening night, the stage is strewn with bodies...but one of them is real. As in, really, really dead - the director, in fact.
Sam's boyfriend Jake is in the audience with her, and as he is a Scotland Yard detective, he is first on the scene to investigate...but the show must go on anyway.

This is such a great series - I really hope there are more to come!
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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 Bed of Scorpions (Sam Clair, #2)
  • A Cast of Vultures (Sam Clair, #3)

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