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The Convivial Codfish

(Kelling & Bittersohn #5)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  945 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Sarah Kelling and new husband Max Bittersohn are called in by Jeremy Kelling when his Great Chain of the Convivial Cod vanishes. The emblem represents his great achievement, the office of Exalted Chowderhead over the Annual Scrooge Day revels of the Comrades of the Convivial Codfish. When Jeremy falls victim to a seemingly vicious prank, the couple suspect murder.
Paperback, 204 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by iBooks (first published 1984)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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Apr 28, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Canadian Charlotte MacLeod, independent novels and all. Her series build on her personages and premises, which I consider a reward to chronology followers. Due to the unmatched intellect, verbosity, and whimsy that are her style, one must start at the beginning. Introductory novels are pitched perfectly, then zaniness unravels as her series go along. I shudder to think what newcomers make of “The Convival Codfish”, 1984; when I, a fan, found that a palatable balance of story content had t ...more
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Convivial Codfish start with Sarah's Uncle Jem leading a meeting of crusty male elders who meet for a traditional meeting at Christmas that brings in Scrooge, Christmas Past and Present. There is a lot of bah humbugs uttered. Somehow the Convivial Codfish chain disappears from Uncle Jem's neck. He asks his niece's husband Max who is a private art investigator to look into it. Then an accident happens to Uncle Jem.

There is murder and mass poisoning following the above event. There were many
Denise Spicer
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sarah Kelling and her zany relatives star in this rollicking romp of a murder mystery. Mass poisoning on a private train excursion party gives Sarah and her husband, Max, a challenging puzzle to solve.
Feb 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Again this is more of a 3.5 star title. This is a take off on the classic closed room type of mystery that Christie made popular. Uncle Jem is the current leader of the Convivial Codfish and gets to wear the garish token that goes with the position. It is huge and bulky and likely noisy and somehow goes missing while Uncle Jem is carrying out his duties in a ceremony. Uncle Jem also has an accident later that leaves him unable to go on the annual train ride that turns into a huge disaster. Uncle ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-series
I liked this one much better than the last couple of books! It has a much better pace with more "doing" and a lot less "thinking". It also doesn't have a big long explanation at the end. Maybe more books with Max as the central character are better! I hope this marks the author as getting better! ...more
Jenn Estepp
As fun as expected, although I could've done with a little more Sarah. ...more
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
YES, I READ ANOTHER CHARLOTTE MACLEOD MYSTERY! And what a title, THE CONVIVIAL CODFISH!!!--a colorful, unique mystery featuring the savvy couple Sarah Kelling and her new husband, the interantional art investigator, Max Bittersohn. As usual, Sarah's prominent Boston relatives provide another cousin who draws the newlyweds into a murder. (I'm so glad my family doesn't have this knack.) This time it's cousin Jem Kelling, the distinguished Exalted Chowderheadof this group of Codfish--older men who ...more
Susan in NC
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
5/2018 - still a 3.5-4 Star reread for me, perfect for convalescing at home. Fun and funny!

2016 - A wonderful reread of an old favorite - I don't know which I enjoy more about Charlotte MacLeod's delightfully witty Kelling and Bittersohn mysteries, the wacky characters or the hilarious dialogue! They really remind me of the screwball comedies of the '30s and '40s - I can imagine Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn delivering the clever zingers! I think I'll have to dig out my other MacLeod favorite
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-mystery
Does not disappoint. Another charming and witty mystery, with rich people behaving badly and our heroes being quite charming and exsaperated. Nice. DPL e book via total boox.
Susan Willis
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
So much fun. I love this series.
Kamas Kirian
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great entry in the series. We got lots and lots of Max, but very little Sarah. It had me guessing who the culprit was up until the end. The story flowed well and there was plenty of action to keep my attention. But there wasn't a whole lot of meat to go with the potatoes as it were. I do like Max as a character.

I do have two complaints about the story. 1) Not enough Sarah. She was barely mentioned throughout the book, it was very much centered on Max. 2) The cast of characters, while int
Not a lot of Sarah in this book and I definitely felt her absence. Instead, the focus is Max as he infiltrates a Christmas party hosted by one of the men in the Comrades of the Convivial Codfish, Tom Tolbathy. He does it to help out one of Sarah’s many uncles, Jeremy. It seems that Jeremy, who is the current Exalted Chowderhead, lost the ceremonial chain at a recent Dickens Christmas Carol dinner. Jem can’t go to the party himself because he fell down the stairs at his house and broke his hip, v ...more
Nov 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
The Convivial Codfish (#5) — Charlotte MacLeod (23 chapters) Oct. 21 - Nov. 1 , 2020

In this fifth book of the series, a mystery around the holidays has Max filling in for Jen after a suspicious fall puts him out of commission for an annual party with his chums. Jen has also been the victim of a theft from around his very neck in the form of a codfish necklace. At the annual event, taken place on a train, there is an accident that leaves two people dead and a lot of them very sick.

Max has to disc
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, mystery
Early Bird Book Deal | More farcical than the previous installment, which is a relief. | Again I was pretty sure of the culprit fairly early on, though in this case it wasn't due to carefully uncovered clues or narrative detecting, just the simplistic approach of "who would the author probably feel like making the murderer?" I did find it paced strangely, it seemed like Max was only just starting to investigate when I noticed the book was almost complete. My biggest enjoyment here is the compara ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Whoa. In addition to all the interrelated people that the Kellings know, this particular edition was missing punctuation regularly. Suffice it to say, it was a challenge worthy of Max Bittersohn to figure out the paragraphs, much less the mystery.

It's a fast paced (it takes place over a couple days) mystery, beginning with trying to figure out who stole Uncle Jem's Codfish Chain, and ending with a track crash, a murder (and several more), and a lot of wordplay.
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas, 2018
I am tempted also to file this on my Cookery Shelf. But no.

It's an ingenious mystery. I didn't guess whodunit, and though I have read a lot of mysteries this was the first time for this particular kind of character for a perpetrator. Lots of interesting suspects, and enough time spent with each to really consider whether they had means, motive, and opportunity. It felt like one way or another, they all did!

And I would still love to grow autumn crocus in my garden.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
A Christmas party held by the Convivial Codfish drinking and jokester group is broken up by a train accident and a mass poisoning. Evidently clearing the decks for this, Sarah's Uncle Jem has been laid up in the hospital, and he sent his new nephew-in-law Max to the party in his place. Max's sharp eyes see things only Uncle Jem could have expected to see. Now he has to find out which of the Codfish members thinks murder is a great joke.

Read 2 times
Shay Lynn
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Fun Read

Just be sure you keep all the characters straight. Among my pet peeves are novels with so many characters that I'm glad I'm reading an e-book and can do a quick search to remind me who's who. I just finished rereading an Agatha Christie mystery with a full, rich array of suspects, victims and witnesses. Even if you're reading it for the first time, you don't have to pause and ask the question "Where did he come from?"
Marsha Valance
As Jeremy Kelling is taking part in a fun day of seasonal ceremonies celebrating the codfish, his great chain of office is stolen. Tho his new nephew-in-law, PI Max Bittersohn, is unable to take Kelling seriously (a Scrooge Day?), cold-blooded mass mayhem is breaking out in high society, and a killer is abroad.
Virginia Kessen
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shorter than usual and not enough Sarah, it's still a delightful read. I love the peek into a way of life so different than mine. This book was originally published in 1984 but most of the characters live as though it was 30 or 40 years earlier. So well written and so much fun. ...more
Anne Wingate
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absorbing Tale

This is a mystery that is almost but not quite a farce. A man is murdered on a party train.
Max must figure out who did it, while Sarah tries to keep him and her relative safe.
That proves more difficult than it should be.
An oldie but it's still good.
Bruce MacDonald
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the language choices

Well plotted, great characters,; heroes, victims, villains, and background. Great vocabulary builder lots of uncommon words to.keep a reader busy above and beyond deciding whodunit.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
My favorite of this series thus far, I enjoy the peek into earlier time. They are an easy entertaining read.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great writing as usual

Quite a few typos in this ebook version, as well as others in the series. Please hire a good proofreader.
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Always love spending time with the Bittersohns and their interesting relatives.
Fun, old fashioned and kind of silly. I've enjoyed this series for decades. ...more
Cynthia Sacks
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Not nearly as much fun as it should have been. It begins well, but soon loses its focus and meanders. The motive for the murder is weak.
Ginny Crouse
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always a joy

How could you not love Charlotte MacLeod and the Kelling family? I’ve read them all before and thoroughly enjoying them all a second time around.
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great series

This is the fourth book in the Sarah and Max series. I have enjoyed them all. Start with The family Vault if you like to read in order
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Naturalized US Citizen

Also wrote as Alisa Craig

Charlotte MacLeod, born in New Brunswick, Canada, and a naturalized U.S. citizen, was the multi-award-winning author of over thirty acclaimed novels. Her series featuring detective Professor Peter Shandy, America's homegrown Hercule Poirot, delivers "generous dollops of...warmth, wit, and whimsy" (San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle). But full

Other books in the series

Kelling & Bittersohn (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Family Vault (Kelling & Bittersohn, #1)
  • The Withdrawing Room (Kelling & Bittersohn #2)
  • The Palace Guard (Kelling & Bittersohn, #3)
  • The Bilbao Looking Glass (Kelling & Bittersohn, #4)
  • The Plain Old Man (Kelling & Bittersohn, #6)
  • The Recycled Citizen (Kelling & Bittersohn, #7)
  • The Silver Ghost (Kelling & Bittersohn, #8)
  • The Gladstone Bag (Kelling & Bittersohn, #9)
  • The Resurrection Man (Kelling & Bittersohn, #10)
  • The Odd Job (Kelling & Bittersohn, #11)

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