Back on the cozy crime for this week’s BotW with G M Malliet’s first St Just mystery. I’ve read a couple of Malliet’s Max Tudor series before – dishy vicar with a Past in rural village – which I’ve enjoyed so I was interested to read more from this author.
Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk is a best-selling mystery writer, who delights in tormenting his adult children by constantly rewriting his will. Then he announces his engagement and the whole family gathers to “celebrate”. But when his eldest son and heir turns up dead, suspicion, greed and malice run riot in the house. Detective Chief Inspector St Just and Sergeant Fear must try to track down the killer before someone else ends up dead.
The whole Beauclerk-Fisk family are hugely dislikeable and this adds a certain something as you read about their machinations (some subtler and cleverer than others). There’s also a lot of references to classic crime – so if you’ve read a lot of Christie you’ll enjoy that too. Sir Adrian has distinct Luther Crackenthorpe tendencies and is stuck writing books about a detecting spinster who he has grown to hate and tried to kill. His writing methods and plot accuracy (as described) also feel like a bit of a comment on someone too.
DCI St Just features less in this than I was expecting, so you don’t really get to know him massively, so I’d need to read another book in the series to make a proper judgement, but he comes across as quite well – fairly inoffensive, not overly flamboyant or extravagant – and obviously as a police officer he has a perfect right to be investigating the crime which was not the case in one of the other cozies I read recently which didn’t work anywhere near as well.
It’s not perfect, but it is a fun mystery with a good few twists before you find out who actually did it. Get your copy from Amazon or on Kindle. My copy was second hand – but I have seen some of Malliet’s books in store in The Works too.