Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Howl of Wolves (Sam Clair, #4)” as Want to Read:
A Howl of Wolves (Sam Clair, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Howl of Wolves

(Sam Clair #4)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  322 ratings  ·  77 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
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Howl of Wolves, please sign up.
Recent Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  322 ratings  ·  77 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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 w
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it
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.
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. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very smooth and pleasant throughout. When book editor Sam Clair and her partner Insp. Jake Field of the CID attend a performance of the Spanish Tragedy, there's an actual, not stage body. Thankfully, this 4th mystery outing doesn't end up with the body count of that bloody play (13) but a story of revenge sought and taken does apply... AND Sam doesn't wind up in as much peril, a peeve of mine. (Thanks, Ms. Flanders :+) )
Katya Zablocki
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Read this in about six hours, it was so good! An easy read, but very captivating. I felt like it had a lot of characters, but that's probably because I was reading it in one spot. I couldn't even tell that this wasn't the first book in a series, there wasn't any mentions of other solved cases or anything. Highly recommend if you're looking for a lighter (in the sense that it's not long) mystery that has some grit to it!
Sue Sharp
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Closer to three and a half.... I love Sam, the main character - feisty, bright , sarcastic sense of, humour, good work ethic, and an I tersting person. My problem with 5is particular book was in keeping people straight, and honestly, it might have been me more than the writing. Good story line, and I would recommend this book.
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
The 4th installment of the book editor/inadvertent crime solver, Sam (short for Samantha Clair). I liked this book. The cozy writing style makes it easy to read, even though the character has a definite English persona and the wry humor that was present in the first 3 books is once again evident. This story centers around the another family that lives in her building - the actress and her film making husband and 6 year old son, two of which are appearing in a play filled with umpteen murders and ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Unsolicited (A Booklover's Mystery, #1)
  • Lonelyheart 4122 (Flaxborough Chronicles, #4)
  • Murder in an English Village (Beryl and Edwina Mystery #1)
  • Identity (Fina Ludlow #2)
  • Old Bones (Detective Sarah Alt, #2)
  • Slave to Fashion
  • The Age of Treachery (Duncan Forrester Mystery #1)
  • Goodbye, Ms. Chips (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #12)
  • Death and the Lit Chick (St. Just Mystery #2)
  • Marrying Mom
  • Person or Persons Unknown (Sir John Fielding, #4)
  • The Shakespeare Thefts: In Search of the First Folios
  • Murder in St. Giles (Captain Lacey Mysteries #13)
  • And Then There Were Nuns (League of Literary Ladies #4)
  • Fields Where They Lay (Junior Bender, #6)
  • Poulets grillés
  • Another One Bites the Crust
  • An Act of Villainy (Amory Ames Mystery #5)
See similar books…
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
  • A Cast of Vultures (Sam Clair Book 3)