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The Coroner

(Jenny Cooper #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,678 ratings  ·  192 reviews
A vulnerable boy hangs himself inside a young offenders' centre. A teenage girl is found dead of a heroin overdose. Then, after dealing with these two cases, Coroner Harry Marshall suddenly dies, apparently from natural causes. Jenny Cooper is his replacement & she is puzzled by Marshall's strange behaviour just before his death.
Hardcover, 422 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by MacMillan (first published 2009)
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,678 ratings  ·  192 reviews

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Melinda Elizabeth
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
This was a fairly bland procedural crime novel... I assume the author is setting up storylines for further novels, but it would have been nice to tie up some of the loose ends. There was just too much whinging and dragging, boring stories in this book to be good. If it had stuck with the coronial part, and cut out the pill popping lead character it might have been a little more tolerable than it was. The characters were one dimensional and I didn't really care what happened to any of them. Don't ...more
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This is first book about Jenny Cooper a newly appointed Coroner in Bristol, SW England. It introduces us to a struggling 42 woman who has endured a recent marriage break-up, with her teenage son chosing to stay with his Dad, a new remote home and a serious drug addiction following a nervous breakdown. Having lied on her application about her current medical issues she throws herself into her new job.
Unfortunately, she can hardly manage with all the demands on her and when a couple of cases appea
Apr 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It isn’t very often that a new author comes my way about whom I know nothing at all. Usually if they are good, there is a buzz about them. People start talking about the book they’ve just read and others pick up on it. I hadn’t heard a word about M.R. Hall’s, THE CORONER so I had no real expectations that this was anything other than just another run-of-the-mill crime novel. You know the type of thing. You read it and a couple of weeks later you’ve forgotten most of the plot. I am happy to admit ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Apr 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime

Brave of a male author to make a female character the main protagonist, but M R Hall succeeds well enough. Though Jenny Cooper, the coroner of the title, isn't easy to like. She is in psychiatric consultation for some childhood trauma, suffering guilt pangs after a custody struggle from a messy divorce, at the same time addicted to pills and too much alcohol (a bottle of red, followed by a bottle of white, beer from the can, brandy meant to be for cooking, etc). Difficult to see how she was app
Jun 12, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, did-not-finish
1st I’ve read by this author, but it just didn’t keep me interested. Really not sure why as it wasn’t a bad story with horrible characters. I might go back to this one day.
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have been considering reading this one for a while now and decided it was time to get stuck into it. The story follows the newly appointed Coroner, Jenny Cooper to the Severn Vale District. Jenny is recovering from a breakdown following her divorce and losing custody of her teenage son to her husband, who is a right a***hole. Jenny is a troubled soul, addicted to tranquilizers and drinking a little too much. This seems to be connected to an incident in her childhood, she has blocked out of her ...more
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Not bad, not great. Definitely too long (450 pages), in spite of the rather sparse script-like writing style. The villain of the piece and the nature of his/her villainy was spottable from a fair distance. And, by the way, Temazepan is not an anti-depressant. It sends you to sleep.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
When one woman has to contend not only with conspiracy, obfuscation and corruption in high places but also antagonism and intimidation from colleagues and opponents alike, you would think that it's too much for one individual to manage. If you add in personal difficulties arising from divorce and psychiatric problems stretching out of childhood trauma you can be sure the odds are stacked against her.

And yet this is what Jenny Cooper, the newly appointed coroner to the fictional Severn Vale Dictr
Liz Mc2
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, mystery
Jenny takes over from a coroner who died and wonders why she's found a file regarding a death he signed off on in a locked drawer. She starts looking into a couple of closed cases and of course opens a big can of worms. Because it's about a coroner this is a bit of a mix of courtroom drama and procedural. Jenny previously worked in children's/family law but had a breakdown after a messy divorce in which she lost custody. Given that these two cases involve teens, she doesn't seem due for the quie ...more
First Sentence: The first dead body Jenny ever saw was her grandfather’s.

Jenny Cooper spent 15 years practicing child-care law, but a serialized cheating, emotionally abusive husband and subsequent divorce, a missing year from her childhood, resulted in an emotional breakdown and severe panic attacks. She’s beginning to put her life back together and has been appointed local coroner in the Severn Vale District Corner, inheriting the office, and it’s rather resentful clerk, from recently deceased
Mar 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed
I’m not sure what drew me to this one. I read a certain amount of crime, but I’m not a great lover of straightforward modern procedurals. But there are some authors who can give them that little bit extra to make them more than a generic read.Could M R Hall be one of them?

The set-up was promising. Jenny had an established career as a family lawyer but, after a nasty divorce and a breakdown, she opted for a new career in a new town. As a coroner.

It’s an interesting angle. One that I’d not come ac
Roy Szweda
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Picked this up at the library and despite it being a doorstep in size, over 400 pages (plus the next one in the series first couple of chapters - I always check that these days.... ) it went down well enough passing my 50 page rule, past that and I usually finish it.
It is only afterwards that I ponder on whether this was the best use of my time when so many non-fiction books stare down at me from my shelves or Kindle list...
I liked the writing style and despite her myriad flaws the main characte
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
This is the first time I've encountered a heroine/hero in a capacity of coroner, not to mention that she has a therapist. The Coroner was pretty informative on the legal aspect and job scope of a coroner so I was pretty satisfied. The plot was slow going at first and there wasn't a lot of action as most of the suspense happened in the 'court rooms', but it detained my attention and Jenny Cooper fascinated me. She's one of the few characters who made me feel frustrated for her and not at her. The ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Listened to as an audiobook, and I picked it up on the recommendation of a customer at the library. I was in no way disappointed - I thoroughly enjoyed it! The main character is flawed, struggling with mental issues and dependent on prescription drugs.........but how she deals with the corruption of the system she lands in, and emerges triumphant in her endeavours to get through the day on fewer pills, and STILL manages to solve the mysteries and bring the criminals to book is a great story. Eve ...more
Jan 28, 2010 rated it really liked it

The Coroner's protagonist is, surprise, a coroner. Since she just starts out in this position, she teaches herself, and the reader, on the duties and rights of the coroner as needed, and as the investigations proceed, a point of view that I knew little about before I read this book.

The combination of the crime story, and political issues like private prisons and the difference between punishment and rehabilitation, together with a background story of a woman struggling with mental issues, makes
Lou Robinson
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by a friend, I think I've found another author who I'll be adding to my series list. This is the story of a somewhat damaged lawyer who takes up a new post as coroner in the Severn Valley. Jenny Cooper has taken the role following on from the death of the previous incumbent. A mysterious death and closely following the mysterious deaths of his last 2 cases. Jenny takes up the challenge, and finally exposes the truth and corruption rife on her patch. Already ordered the next book...en ...more
Tom Waters
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
t tFantastic

What a fantastic book I was hooked on the first page the twist in the story are mind boggling First time I have read Matthew Hall certain it will not be the last Tom Waters
Apr 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read anything by this author before and I've never read a coroner based police procedural book either but I can tell that this will not be the last one of these i read. I loved the fact that a fair quantity of this book is based in south Wales as well. Oh and the cliffhanger ending about Jenny's past was a bit sneaky!
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deeply flawed main character and totally believable. Very engrossing how she refuses to give up searching for more evidence after she finds unsatisfactory procedures and verdicts carried out by her predecessor coroner. Glad to see that this is the first of a series.
Sep 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Like the series, which I read out of sequence. Recommended.
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Found this book a bit of a slog at first, and it took a third attempt to really get into it, but once I did I found it pretty good.
Oct 17, 2014 rated it liked it
I found it hard to put this book down.. I don't think her anxiety helped my anxiety though. :)
Nov 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic, first in series featuring the main character a Coroner. A real good story, I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I finished book I downloaded the next in the series
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, excellent crime writing and UK based
Terrie Sharp
Feb 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
slow start, interesting story and satisfying end.
Will T
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Enjoyable story with a complex conspiracy to unravel, but the main character was a tad annoying at times.
First by this author, Jenny Cooper, Severn Vale Coroner. excellent reading
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A thriller. An unusual hero, but a hero if a hero is someone who goes after her ideals and truth despite her own insecurities and fears, despite the collected ranks of a massive corporation being lined up against her.
She is a medical mess, a wreck cast up by a disastrous marriage to a manipulative careerist trying to keep a hold on the only thing she values, her son, gets the coroner’s job on the sudden death of the previous coroner and immediately is thrown onto a mix of deception and cover up
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M R Hall, otherwise known as Matthew or Matt Hall, lives and works in the Wye Valley in Monmouthshire. Born in London in 1967, he was educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Worcester College, Oxford, where he graduated in law.

After several years as a criminal barrister in London, Matthew started writing TV drama, beginning with epsiodes of ITV's Kavanagh QC. He was nominated for a BAFTA for his

Other books in the series

Jenny Cooper (7 books)
  • The Disappeared (Jenny Cooper, #2)
  • The Redeemed (Jenny Cooper, #3)
  • The Flight (Jenny Cooper, #4)
  • The Chosen Dead (Jenny Cooper, #5)
  • The Burning (Jenny Cooper, #6)
  • A Life to Kill (Jenny Cooper, #7)
“the nurse who’d prostituted her profession to act as jailer,” 0 likes
“they wouldn’t come out until she was senile.” 0 likes
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