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Out on a Limb: A Claire Malloy Mystery Hardcover – 2002

12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312266804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312266806
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,180,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Oh dear, this seems so personal. I was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, luckily a blue dot in a red state. Did the normal kid stuff, avoided the long arm of the law. I earned a BA in art from the U of A, and a MS in early childhood development from Long Island University. I was teaching art in a preschool (pretty clever combination of the degrees, right?) when a friend suggested I write a romance novel. I wrote ten unpublishable ones before I realized I needed a splash of blood and a slather of humor in my prose and turned to mysteries. The Claire Malloy series came first, followed by the Maggody series. A third series, the Theo Bloomer mysteries, sputtered out after two novels, alas (it was going to be my "travel" series, requiring me to take tax-deductible business trips to do the research).

Now I live in Austin, Texas (also a blue dot, but a bigger one), a ten-minute drive from my absolutely adorable twin grandchildren Jack and Annabelle, soon to be three years old. Please don't ask me if they're identical. Their gracious mother frequently allows me to drop whatever I'm doing and dash over to babysit. And I do.

I'm currently working on my forty-fifth (or so) mystery, a Claire Malloy based on my brief experience in the jury pool. When I'm not babysitting, that is.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Moe811 on December 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Claire Malloy's life seems to be back to normal. Caron is overdramatic, her bookstore is just barely afloat, and Lt. Rosen is back in her life. Miss Parchester's life is slightly more exciting, she is living in a tree to protest the extension of a housing developement. Caron finds a baby on the doorstep, and the owner of the development is shot and killed. The mother of the baby is the leading suspect, and Miss Parchester knows more than she is telling.
I have waited a long time for this book and I wasn't disappointed. Ms. Hess' quirky characters always make me laugh, particularly Caron and her ongoing battles for popularity with Rhonda Maquire. It did annoy me that Lt. Rosen is back in the picture with little or no explanation. Overall, this was a quick and fun read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MZ on February 5, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Joan Hess is one of my favorite authors, so my opinion of Out on a Limb is biased by the fact that I was sure I would like it before I bought it.
The best part of this book was the unique storyline. As you have no doubt read the description supplied by the publisher, I won't rewrite it here. I will just say that while other humorous mystery writers use the same storylines over and over, Hess comes up with fantastic new ideas each time. I loved this story about the Green Party, and I love the recurring characters in Claire Malloy's life -- in this case, Miss Parchester.
Even if I had guessed the ending of Out on a Limb before the last page of the book, I enjoy the style of Hess' writing so greatly that I cannot wait to see what Claire will do next.
If you like the Maggody books or have read the other Claire Malloy books, I recommend this one. It's a light, easy read that will at times make you Laugh Out Loud Caron Malloy-style.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on November 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
You could say that it all started about a month ago, when Claire Malloy, owner of Faberville's only bookstore, part-time amateur sleuth, and mother to sixteen year old Caron, helped deliver the baby of an (apparently) abused teenager living on the streets. But after having seen that the girl and her newborn son made it to the shelter for abused women, Claire never thought to see either them again. And yet here's the baby boy, left (literally) at her doorstep with a note from the mother begging Claire to look after her son while she tries to sort a few things out, extolling Claire NOT to contact the authorities and promising to retrieve the child in a few days. Unfortunately, the next thing Claire knows is that she's watching a newsclip on her TV of the baby's mother being arrested for murder!
It turns out that the baby's mother is Daphne Armstrong, the only daughter of Faberville's own shady land developer, Anthony Armstrong. Daphne had runaway from home the previous year when she realised that she was pregnant and when her father had demanded that she have an abortion. Now Anthony Armstrong has been found murdered in his own study, and witnesses (who include Armstrong's trophy wife and her sister) claim to have seen Daphne fleeing the scene minutes after shots were fired, gun in hand. It looks like an open-and-shut case, but Claire is sure that Daphne is innocent of the crime. And so decides to investigate. (It's either that or risk being lumbered with caring for the baby for the next 16 years). But this soon proves to be a case with quite a few 'legs.' Many people had a reason to dislike Armstrong immensely -- like the members of Faberville's Green Party, who claim that Armstrong is bribing the planning commission in order to build at sites that should be preserved.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
this was a fun book to read & it kept you guessing.
Claire sure knows how to get around a question when the police ask her something. She kept everyone guessing through the whole book & the ending is a surprise.
Another wonderful book by Joan Hess
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Farberville, Arkansas is usually a quiet little town but every once in a while trouble seems to erupt and everyone just knows crime solver Claire Malloy will be in the middle of it. To make way for more housing, a group of trees have to be cut down but environmentalist Miss Emily Parchester plans a protest by living in a tree until she wins her point. Claire, who aided and abetted the elderly woman before with a false murder charge, tries to talk some sense into her but fails in the face of the Emily's determination.
When she returns home, Claire finds her sixteen-year-old daughter nearly hysterical. A newborn baby only four weeks old has been put on Claire's doorstep. Clair delivered the baby whose the teenage mother lived in the streets but she has no idea who she was. Anthony Armstrong, the developer who wants to cut the trees down, is murdered and his daughter, arrested for the crime. Claire recognizes her as the baby's mother and enlists her friends into helping her prove the young mother is innocent.
OUT ON A LAMB is an entertaining and poignant cozy that intertwines several social issues into the main story line. Joan Hess is a witty writer who uses subtle touches of humor to diffuse the tension when it reaches too high a level. The author is an expert at characterizations and readers are pulled into the plot because they want to know what the characters will do next especially since they are so unpredictable.
Harriet Klausner
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