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Death of a Cozy Writer (A St. Just Mystery) [Kindle Edition]

G.M. Malliet
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Winner of the 2008 Agatha Award for Best First Novel

From deep in the heart of his eighteenth century English manor, millionaire Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk writes mystery novels and torments his four spoiled children with threats of disinheritance. Tiring of this device, the portly patriarch decides to weave a malicious twist into his well-worn plot. Gathering them all together for a family dinner, he announces his latest blow – a secret elopement with the beautiful Violet... who was once suspected of murdering her husband.

Within hours, eldest son and appointed heir Ruthven is found cleaved to death by a medieval mace. Since Ruthven is generally hated, no one seems too surprised or upset – least of all his cold-blooded wife Lillian. When Detective Chief Inspector St. Just is brought in to investigate, he meets with a deadly calm that goes beyond the usual English reserve. And soon Sir Adrian himself is found slumped over his writing desk – an ornate knife thrust into his heart. Trapped amid leering gargoyles and stone walls, every member of the family is a likely suspect. Using a little Cornish brusqueness and brawn, can St. Just find the killer before the next-in-line to the family fortune ends up dead?

Death of a Cozy Writer was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as a Best Book of 2008, nominated for a Left Coast Crime award (the Hawaii Five-O for best police procedural), short-listed for the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery, nominated for the Anthony Award for Best First Novel and was a finalist for the David G. Sasher, Sr. Award for Best Mystery Novel.

G.M. Malliet's Death of a Cozy Writer won the 2008 Agatha Award for Best First Novel and a silver medal for the IPPY awards in the category of Mystery/Suspense/Thriller.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"Malliet's debut combines devices from Christie and Clue to keep you guessing until the dramatic denouement." - Kirkus Reviews
"Fans of English detective work will welcome Malliet's droll debut, the first in a new series." - Publishers Weekly
"In her series debut, Malliet, who won a Malice Domestic Grant to write this novel, lays the foundation for an Agatha Christie-like murder mystery." - Library Journal
"This tale cleverly adds modern touches to an Agatha Christie style classic house mystery." - Mystery Women Magazine
"Almost every sentence is a polished, malicious gem, reminiscent of Robert Barnard...the book is perfect for the lover of the classical detective story or the fan of great sentences." - Deadly Pleasures Magazine
"Malliet's skillful debut demonstrates the sophistication one would expect of a much more established writer. I'm looking forward to her next genre-bender, Death and the Lit Chick." - Mystery Scene Magazine
"The connections made by St. Just are nothing short of Sherlock Holmes at his most coherent. A most excellent first mystery!" - Midwest Book Review
"Readers who enjoy all things British, as well as a good whodunit, will find these novels just the ticket." - Free Lance-Star
"G.M. Malliet's Death of a Cozy Writer is a delightful homage to the great novels of Britian's Golden Age of Mysteries, which lasted from about 1913 to the beginning of World War II: a time when Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Dorothy Sayers, and Ngaio Marsh's writing careers were in full bloom." - Nancy Pearl, KUOW-FM
"All in all a delightful read." - Book-Blog
"The mystery was complex and satisfying, with several unpredictable twists, and St. Just and Fear are likeable but funny investigators." - On My Bookshelf
"A good old fashion whodunit that Agatha Christie would have been pleased to claim as her own." - Alibi Books
"Try Ms. Malliet's prize-winning debut for a classic cozy set in modern times." - Fresh Fiction
"Good mystery, characters, descriptive phrases, and resolution. Malliet could have a great series on her hands." - The Mystery Bookstore
"[T]his novel delivers exactly what you hoped it would: a new packaging of the old formula, and a very enjoyable read." - Gumshoe Review
"Death of a Cozy Writer is a book anyone who cut their teeth on Agatha Christie's mysteries will treasure. I read it once for the story, and plan to read it a second time just to savor the language. It's that good." - Cozy Library
"In the beginning, Death of a Cozy Writer will entertain readers with its characters, setting, and board game-like features, but in the end will captivate them with a compelling denouement in a familiar gathering of the suspects in the drawing room." - Mysterious Reviews
"Humor, red herrings, and a few unlikeable characters make this a very enjoyable cozy." - Des Plaines Public Library, Staff Picks
"I've found a reason to read genre mystery again. You have, too." - Bookish News, Possibly of Interest
"Death of a Cozy Writer, G.M. Malliet's hilarious first mystery, is a must-read for fans of Robert Barnard and P.G. Wodehouse. I'm looking forward eagerly to Inspector St. Just's next case!" - Donna Andrews, award-winning author of Some Like it Hawk
"Death of a Cozy Writer is a romp, a classic tale of family dysfunction in a moody and often humourous English country house setting. A worthy addition to the classic mystery tradition and the perfect companion to a cup of tea and a roaring fire, or a sunny deck chair. Relax and let G.M. Malliet introduce you to the redoubtable Detective Chief Inspector St. Just of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary. I'm sure we'll be hearing much more from him!" - Louise Penny, author of the award-winning Armand Gamache series of murder mysteries
"Wicked, witty and full of treats, G.M. Malliet's debut novel has the sure touch of a classy crime writer. More, please!" - Peter Lovesey, winner of Crime Writer's Association and Malice Domestic Lifetime Achievement Awards
"The traditional British cozy is alive and well. Delicious. I was hooked from the first paragraph." - Rhys Bowen, award-winning author of Her Royal Spyness
"A house party in a Cambridgeshire mansion with the usual suspects, er, guests - a sly patriarch, grasping relatives, a butler, and a victim named Ruthven (what else?) - I haven't had so much fun since Anderson's 'Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy.' Pass the tea and scones, break out the sherry, settle down in the library by the fire and enjoy Malliet's delightful tribute to the time-honored tradition of the English country house mystery." - Marcia Talley, Agatha and Anthony award-winning author of Dead Man Dancing

From the Back Cover

"Death of a Cozy Writer, G.M. Malliet's hilarious first mystery, is a must-read for fans of Robert Barnard and P.G. Wodehouse. I'm looking forward eagerly to Inspector St. Just's next case!"

~~ Donna Andrews, award-winning author of The Penguin Who Knew Too Much

"The traditional British cozy is alive and well. Delicious. I was hooked from the first paragraph."

~~ Rhys Bowen, award-winning author of Her Royal Spyness

"Wicked, witty and full of treats, G.M. Malliet's debut novel has the sure touch of a classy crime writer. More, please!"

~~ Peter Lovesey, recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Crime Writers' Association and Malice Domestic

Death of a Cozy Writer is a romp, a classic tale of family dysfunction in a moody and often humourous English country house setting. A worthy addition to the classic mystery tradition and the perfect companion to a cup of tea and a roaring fire, or a sunny deck chair. Relax and let G.M. Malliet introduce you to the redoubtable Detective Chief Inspector St. Just of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary. I'm sure we'll be hearing much more from him!

~~ Louise Penny, author of the award-winning Armand Gamache series of murder mysteries


Product Details

  • File Size: 1638 KB
  • Print Length: 297 pages
  • Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (July 8, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001JEPVSM
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,764 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
99 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative Debut Mystery Series July 14, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Let us begin this review with a blunt declaration: G.M. Malliet can WRITE. And, more vitally, she can tell a story.

The plot of Death of a Cozy Writer revolves around a wealthy, aging aristocrat's will, a storyline harkening back to Kyd's Spanish Tragedy and Shakespeare's King Lear. Ms. Malliet's novel's central conceit is a British detective procedural that gently skewers the Cozy mystery sub-genre within an English country house setting. Familiar ground, brilliantly re-traversed. Moreover, Malliet manages to honor the sacred concord between mystery writer and reader by faithfully observing the requisite genre conventions, but in her own quirky, tongue-in-chic style.

The author uses the early chapters to depict the various characters with wit and unusual insight. She then deposits them at the nimbly executed meal en famille, a model of nuanced familial interaction and serial revelation. Once the estimable DCI St. Just and obligatory sidekick are introduced into the mix, the pace quickens and the reader is catapulted into a dizzying vortex of misdirection, surprise, and, echoing Greek tragedies, recognition and reversal. So sure, so authoritative is Malliet's grasp of character, plot, and convention as she propels the intricate plot to conclusion, I felt I had witnessed a display of narrative virtuosity equal to that of any first rate mystery writer's very best work.

Appetite whetted, I avidly await the gifted G.M. Malliet's next literary outing. Perhaps she will even include a "Death of an Amazon Reviewer" book in this promising series. Hmmm, I better hide the cutlery......
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing August 3, 2009
Format:Paperback
#1 St. Just mystery. Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk is a writer of cozy British mysteries, and he's also an absolute beast. Pompous, phony, and cruel to his family, frequently changing his will in favor of whichever of his children has momentarily pleased him (or displeased him the least), he decides to have some real fun by inviting his four children to his wedding. They are aghast of course, seeing a threat to their inheritances, but they all head toward his manor, figuratively attempting to elbow their way into his favor and hopefully talk him out of this marriage to an obvious gold digger. (It takes one to know one!)

Then Sir Adrian drops the bombshell that his marriage is a done deal, that he and Violet are already man and wife and that his will has (yet again) been changed--but he doesn't say how. Shortly thereafter, Sir Adrian's eldest child Ruthven is brutally murdered, and it's not long before he follows his son to the afterlife. Just about everyone has motive to kill one or another of them, so who dunnit?

I admit that I was surprised by the ending, but to be honest, I didn't much care by that point. The book started very slowly, and I nearly gave it up since by the time I hit page 100 (1/3 of the way through the book) there had not yet been a murder, nor had we met DCI St. Just, our intrepid hero. There was just too much set-up, and in reflecting back, the set-up didn't really give many clues to the murderer. Once St. Just entered the scene, things did improve. I like him, and Sgt. Fear too, and wish that his character had been more developed. There is some wry humor that I found amusing, but the overall package of this book was just mediocre to me and it felt like it was "trying too hard." I will likely read the next one, but I've deleted it from my wishlist and just added it to my library list. If St. Just develops further in that book I would say the series has promise.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most excellent first mystery! July 12, 2008
Format:Paperback
G.M. Malliet is a professional journalist and copywriter with degrees from Oxford and

Cambridge Universities. DEATH OF A COPYWRITER is her first mystery and has already garnered the Malice Domestic Grant and the Romance Writers of America 2006 Stiletto Award in the thriller category.

Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk is as phony as his title. He has also produced one of the truly great dysfunctional families. He is ensconced in his eighteenth-century Cambridgeshire manor, and has married a woman who was accused of murdering her first husband for his money. He delights in using Violet to torment his grown-up children, all of whom have their own foibles. The result naturally turns to murder, and it is up to Detective Chief Inspector St. Just and his sidekick, Detective Sergeant Fear, from the Cambridgeshire Constabulary to sort out the mess. The servants also have their own secrets to cover up, and the result is a jolly investigation marked by hilarious dialogue and commentary:

"The poor bugger really was dead, and he'd been dead awhile. St. Just thought it was little wonder the man who said he was his brother was in such sad shape. The body in the wine refrigerator or whatever it was called was a mess, the skull thoroughly crushed in. The face, itself, however, was intact: In profile, it retained the aristocratic, pampered visage of what the coroner would undoubtedly describe was a well-nourished, middle-aged man."

Malliet writes this little "cozy" with a sense of humor and an eye towards thoroughly confusing the reader. The connections made by St. Just are nothing short of Sherlock Holmes at his most coherent.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written British mystery
A British detective mystery which sets the stage for DCI St. Just and Sgt. Fear but stands well on its own with a quirky cast of characters. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth reading
I believed the recommendations on Amazon website. Big mistake! This book is a take off on a classic detective novel. I am not sure why, but I stuck with it. Read more
Published 11 days ago by stanley r trost
2.0 out of 5 stars Having trouble getting into this book
I had high hopes but am very disappointed with this book. I have started and restarted this book more than four times but just can't seem to attach any of the characters. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Terri Meyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Cozy Itself
I really enjoyed this book. It has the overall feel of timelessness that I like in my mysteries. I didn't guess the killer at all and that might be because there weren't enough... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sarah Vaughn
3.0 out of 5 stars I didn't like it. I especially disliked the way the author ...
This as a parody of the traditional British cozy a la Agatha Christie. I didn't like it. I especially disliked the way the author targeted being fat. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Reader
1.0 out of 5 stars Just couldn't get interested in it
What I hate when I start a mystery is finding every single character unpleasant so that I don't care if they all get murdered and I don't care who did it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by JJ
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to other Malliet mysteries.
It took much too long to get into the story and few of the characters were sympathetic or appealing . I had to make myself keep reading it. The plot was a little far fetched, too.
Published 6 months ago by Grammy
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved the author's wit
This is a book which was written with the author's tongue firmly planted in her cheek. G. M. Malliet must have smiled her way through Death of a Cozy Writer. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Cathy G. Cole
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I've read two of this author's books, 'Death of a Lit Chick' and 'Death of a Cozy Writer'. I won't read another. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jillar
5.0 out of 5 stars Death of a Cozy Writer by GM Malliet
Death of a Cozy Writer was a nice read on these cold nights, siting by the fire & sipping a lil' Cognac. As a matter-of-fact you won't
put it down before going to bed. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Chick
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More About the Author

***Author, PAGAN SPRING (2013), just nominated for Agatha and Dilys awards.***

**A "charming series" - The New York Times on the Max Tudor mysteries.**

*Author, A FATAL WINTER, 2012 Agatha nominee for Best Novel, and WICKED AUTUMN, 2011 Agatha nominee for Best Novel and an NBC TODAY show Summer Reads Pick (Charlaine Harris). Books chosen by Library Journal: Best mysteries of 2011 & 2012.*

http://GMMalliet.com

G.M. Malliet is currently writing the Max Tudor series for Thomas Dunne/Minotaur Books. The first book in the series is the Agatha-nominated WICKED AUTUMN (September 2011), which received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal. Library Journal and the Boston Globe also named it a Best Mystery of 2011: "Sly humor rivals Jane Austen's."

WICKED AUTUMN also was chosen by Shelf Awareness book review editor Marilyn Dahl as one of the top ten books of 2011. In addition to being nominated for a 2012 Agatha Award for best traditional mystery novel of 2011, it was one of five books short-listed for the 2012 Dilys Award. Deadly Pleasures magazine included Wicked Autumn in its list of the best mystery-crime novels of 2011.

The New York Times' Marilyn Stasio describes it as "executed in high style and with good humor."

The second book in the Max Tudor series is A FATAL WINTER. It was a featured alternate selection in the Mystery Guild's 2012 holiday catalog.

The third book in the Max Tudor series is PAGAN SPRING, just nominated for the Agatha and Dilys awards.

Malliet did post-graduate work at Oxford University after earning a graduate degree from the University of Cambridge, the setting for her earlier series, the St. Just mysteries. She has lived in places ranging from Japan and Hawaii to Europe, but she most enjoyed living in the U.K. She now lives with her husband in the Washington, D.C. area, but frequently travels in Europe. She writes full time and is currently writing a screenplay in addition to her mystery novels and short stories.

Her books are affectionate send-ups of the traditional British mystery. Two of the previous books, Death and the Lit Chick (2009) and Death of a Cozy Writer (2008), were Anthony Award nominees. Death of a Cozy Writer also won an Agatha Award for Best First Novel, having first been completed with the aid of the Malice Domestic Grant. Kirkus Reviews named it one of the best books of 2008.

In addition to the Anthony Award, Death of a Cozy Writer was nominated for a Macavity for best first novel. It also was nominated for a Left Coast Crime/Hawaii 5-0 Award (best police procedural) and a David award, and won a Silver Medal IPPY (best mystery/thriller/suspense).

The second book in the St. Just series is Death and the Lit Chick (2009). Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine named Death and the Lit Chick one of the best paperback original mysteries of 2009.

The third book in the St. Just series is Death at the Alma Mater (2010).

Her short story "Bookworm," which appeared in the fourth Chesapeake Crimes mystery anthology, was nominated for a Macavity Award.

Malliet credits Agatha Christie and other "Golden Age" authors with making her want to write a detective novel of her own. She is a lifelong fan of the humor and graceful writing styles of Robert Barnard, Caroline Graham, and Martha Grimes.

G.M. Malliet is on Facebook (g.m.malliet), Pinterest (gmmalliet), and Twitter (gmmalliet). Links to her pages on all these social media sites appear on her website at http://GMMalliet.com.

Also see the contact page on her website for agent and publisher information, and to sign up for her newsletter: http://GMMalliet.com.

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