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A Brush with Death

(Susie Mahl Mystery #1)

3.12  ·  Rating details ·  189 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey in this delightful new series introducing pet portraitist and amateur super-sleuth, Susie Mahl.

In the village of Spire, murder is afoot. Rich landowner Alexander, 9th Earl of Greengrass, is caught with his trousers down in the village graveyard before meeting a gruesome end. Luckily Susie Mahl happens to be on hand. With her artist’s eye
Paperback, 311 pages
Published July 20th 2018 by Oneworld Publications (first published June 7th 2018)
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Average rating 3.12  · 
Rating details
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Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I became interested in this book after reading a negative review. I had read this author and I wondered about some of the comments made. I decided to read it. I am happy, I did as I enjoyed this book very much. The one complaint I wished that the Deerhound, Situp had a bigger part in the story. There is a good description of the way royalty lives their lives and of entail estate.
Susie Mahil is an artist and she is noted for her drawings of the various pets. She is a good friend of Lord and Lady
Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, cozy-mystery
I have been picking up cozy mysteries more often this year and this one was a stand-out for me. I love British mysteries in particular, and this one took place among the upper classes, with the added perspective of a protagonist who is an outsider. The amateur sleuth, Susie Mahl, was relatable and refreshing. A thirty-something, single woman working as a pet portraitist, Susie gets involved in the mystery out of concern for close friends, but winds up being quite the detective. Highly recommende ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-england
Painter Susie Mahl, who makes her living painting pet portraits for wealthy people, is hired by, and goes to stay with, a young couple who live near the Earl of Greengrass. He and his wife are friends of Susie's, which is why it's so shocking when she's among the small group that finds his dead body in the churchyard. The countess asks Susie to stay with her for a few days and help out--she finds her daughter-in-law sympathetic--and Susie thinks what would help the most is to find out how the ea ...more
Marcia Killingsworth
Sometimes you just need some mystery, some laughs, some witty wordplay, some clever plotting, some captivating characters, and some unexpected - but insightful - loo comparisons. PLUS PETS! (A dog here; a cameo by a wee black cat, for cat-lovers.).
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut Susie (Vicky?) Mahl mystery. My only caveat is that we could've used more Situp and the wee black cat.
'A Brush with Death' is a fun, lively mystery, and I enthusiastically recommend it.
I cannot wait for the next Susie M
Liz V.
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Susie Mahl is an artist whose bread and butter trade is drawing dogs. Susie had drawn a picture for the Earl and Countess Greenglass and become a family friend. Through the Countess, Susie is commissioned by neighbors and, while staying with them, discovers the Earl's body.

To everyone's consternation, the Earl has been murdered, and the widow asks Susie to stay on. As Susie's curiosity is rampant, she agrees and, with the help of the local pathologist, seeks the murderer.

The book is slow paced,
Fans of "Downton Abbey" and books involving the rich British upper-class may enjoy Ali Carter's debut mystery, A Brush with Death. I found it a little too detailed and slow-paced for my taste, but those who enjoy all the details of English grand homes may enjoy this.

Susie Mahl, the narrator, is what I see as a hanger-on. She's an artist whose specialty is painting pet portraits, so she spends time at grand homes all over England as she studies the pets. She's quite comfortable with the lifestyle
Audra Watts
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it

Cleanliness: Yuck (10+ curse words. Other content: smoking, drinking, mention of sex, descriptions of privates, religion, murder, and death.)

3.5 stars

This book was simply odd. I think I expected too much of it. There was mystery, a tiny bit of romance, and humor; but none of it was overly exciting or thrilling. I found the beginning very slow with too many details.

I couldn't figure out the time period of this tale for a while. I assumed it was 1800s becaus
Anna at A Wondrous Bookshelf
Susie Mahl is an artist who specializes in pet portraits. While staying with friends, the Earl and Countess of Greengrass at their beautiful house in the village of Spire, the Earl is found dead and Susie with her witty and inquisitive nature quickly starts her own investigation into the murder.

I really enjoyed this light-hearted cozy mystery. Susie Mahl is a great detective. She is funny and witty and I loved how Carter combined a little bit of a country house murder as well as giving us some i
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A glittering, funny and sharply observed cosy murder mystery in a quintessential English country setting. Wonderful details, great characters and a welcome new talent.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable and entertaining book. It kept hooked till the end. It's well written and with very intersting characters.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Oneworld Publications
Christa Potter
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a super-sweet book. Light on suspense and intrigue, but pleasant with well-developed characters and great artistic metaphors. And cute dogs. He main character is an every-woman, and I liked her.
Kate Boyle
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lovely, easy to read novel which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Susie is an artist who paints pets, usually for the well-heeled in and around Sussex. Staying with her friends, the Greengrasses, while painting a neighbor’s dog, Susie becomes embroiled in the murder of Lord Greengrass. A pleasant whodunit, with a large cast of unique characters, a good debut for this author.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Susie Mahl is an artist who does commission work, portraits of pets. She travels in the world of the aristocracy, as they are her best clients. And has learned the ways and manners of this British social class.

While visiting the Greengrasses at Beckenstale Manor, the family estate, she is introduced to the Codringtons who have just moved into Glebe House. The Codringtons commission Susie to do a portrait of their dog, at a later date.

Caroline Ingvaldsen
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the first of this appealing new British country cozy mystery series, the spunky heroine applies her considerable skills of observation as an artist to solving murder most foul.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I hope it’s only the first of many to come!
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
2.5 stars for a bit of a mixed bag of a light-hearted cozy mystery. The best parts are the English countryside settings, some of the ridiculous (ironic?) character names (hello, Asquintha, Lady Cornfield) and Susie's observations regarding her fellow human beings and the animals that surround them. On the other hand, you can rather tell this is a debut fiction effort, as the writing is a bit uneven, at least one important character and a few of the plot points were sort of introduced as backhand ...more
WHPL Reference
May 29, 2018 marked it as mystery
Find it at the West Hempstead Public Library ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very cute little mystery. Perfect last book of the summer. Looking forward to reading more about Susie the Pet Detective!
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up to 4
Susie Mahl paints portraits of peoples pets. Her latest commission is of a Deerhound called Situp…I love this as a name for a dog. During a weekend stay at pet owners home in the village of Spire, one of Sophie’s friends is murdered.

This is a cosy mystery and the first in the Susie Mahl Mystery series. From the very outset, was quickly engaged as I discovered the main characters. It was found numerous mentions and references to art, painting and the processes and while I did f
Kerry (lines i underline)
3 1/2 Stars

Roving pet portrait artist Susie Mahl finds herself in the village of Spire for a commission and ends up staying a while when a longtime acquaintance, the Earl of Greengrass, meets an untimely demise. Susie puts her natural sleuthing skills to work and proves she is just as talented at playing detective as she is at immortalizing her beloved canine subjects.

This one was sweet. I've tried a bunch of cozy mysteries but have DNF'd many, since I don't usually feel like the characters are
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Given the blurb's mentioning Downton Abbey, I thought this mystery would be set in the early 1900's rather than in contemporary times. I like period mysteries, but nonetheless this one held my interest very much. The characters were engaging, though a little under-developed and sort of stereotypical, the dog Situp was cute, and I truly enjoyed Susie's comments on what she as an artist looks for and reacts to while creating her pictures. As the author also paints many things, including pet portra ...more
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
A Brush With Death isn’t a revolutionary novel. But it will grip you in a way you won’t expect. Leave your preconceived notions of what a murder mystery should be at the door. That’s right. Nope Agatha Christie too. Have you deconstructed your ideas? Good. Now introducing a world of childhood familiarity (cue nostalgia) where you’ll be swept into a Nancy Drew mystery where it’s soft and easy. The syntax won’t tie your brain in knots. The last page contains the sentence,”I felt very, very sad.” B ...more
Verity W
Jan 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
I’m not sure this really achieved what it was trying to. The mystery isn’t great, I couldn’t work out of the lead character was meant to be whimsically eccentric or if she was just annoying. Never mind. You win some, you lose some.

********copy from Netgalley in return for an honest review ********
Kathryn Provence
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
My problem with this book was that it was too English. Considering what a big Anglophile I am that is quite a statement. As an American I keep thinking "What is that slang word?" I liked the protagonist and the writing about the process of creating art. But the story about the skull piece was rather clumsy. What was it? Do we ever find out about it's origins?
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked the descriptions of Susie's paintings and her interaction with the pets she makes portraits of. However, as a cozy English mystery it certainly wasn't a la Agatha Christie as stated on the back of the book. The mystery was too easy to solve. It's a good book to read on the beach or plane.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-mystery
Clunky writing but an interesting premise for the protagonist. An observant artist who travels to posh houses to paint dogs. but the mystery itself was obvious (despite crucial clues sprung at the end). And the characters cartoonish. DPL book
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Took a chance with this new author. So glad I did. Hugely entertaining in a style that reminded me at times of M. C. Beaton's humour and P. G. Woodhouse's whimsy. Looking forward to number two in the series.
Catherine Kestle
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, all of the characters (both two and four legged) felt very true to life. Although I would have liked the ending to have been fleshed out a bir more as we went from hypothetical idea to arrest - how did the police make the evidence stand up in court.
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Murder is our bus...: Recently published cosy crime novel 1 5 Aug 14, 2018 03:37AM  

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Ali Carter was born in Scotland and read art history at St Andrews. There followed an eclectic career in investment management, retail and technology; then in 2011 she had a catastrophic bicycling accident. After major brain surgery and a long recovery, Ali set herself a challenge to walk alone from Canterbury to Rome, a three-month pilgrimage she wrote about in her book, An Accidental Jubilee by ...more

Other books in the series

Susie Mahl Mystery (2 books)
  • The Colours of Murder: A Susie Mahl Mystery

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