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Death at the Alma Mater: Bk. 3: A St Just Mystery (St. Just Mysteries) Paperback – 1 Mar 2010
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The Agatha Award-winning St. Just Mystery series --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
G. M. Malliet's first St. Just mystery won the 2008 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as a best book of the year. It was nominated for several awards, including the Anthony, the Macavity and a Lefty Award for best police procedural. Her series from Minotaur featuring a former MI5 Agent turned vicar of a small English village debuted in Autumn of 2011. Of the fourth book in the series, Cleveland.com raved: "[Malliet] may be the best mystery author writing in English at the moment (along with Tana French). She's certainly the most entertaining." She attended graduate school in Cambridge and Oxford; she and her husband travel frequently to the UK, the setting for her books. Weycombe is her first book of dark suspense. You can visit her at www.GMMalliet.com.
Top customer reviews
Once again a mystery by G. M. Malliet gives lovers of detective stories a really good, difficult mystery to solve while also including her trademark tongue in cheek presentation of the classic Golden Age novel. The plot of the story, the actual mystery, was very well done. I certainly did not foresee the twist presented at the end. There are appearances by Portia De'Ath (from Death and the Lit Chick: A St Just Mystery (Book 2) (St. Just Mysteries) - the second book in the series) who is supposed to be spending her summer at St. Mike's working on her thesis but is in reality getting more of her mystery novel written. The relationship between St. Just and Portia has progressed to an understanding between them, but St. Just is adamant about not allowing Portia to become involved in this investigation in order to protect her and also to keep his private life and his profession separate. I can't help but wonder if this author is going to be able to continue along that path for much longer. It just seems that these two characters are meant to investigate crimes together.
This was a very satisfying read for me. I enjoyed it very much and appreciate the growth I see in these characters from one book to the next. Even Sergeant Fear's darling little daughter Emma is back with her programming abilities for his cell phone. If you have not read either of the other two books in the series, don't worry, this is very definitely a stand alone book. Any spoofing of the "cozy" mystery or the standardized "police procedural" is done in a very gentle, warm way. This book has been released in the States for several months now and there are already quite a few reviews there. One complaint mentioned is the final twist in this novel. I agree that it was not the best solution for explaining how this crime was committed. What I do think is that my overall enjoyment of the book was not diminished by the choice the author made for that explanation. If you don't want the solution revealed to you, I would advise using caution when reading the reviews from AmazonUS because one review gives the entire solution. G. M. Malliet does give the readers a list of the cast of characters, a diagram of the College grounds, chapters with honest-to-goodness titles, and a mystery written in a style which takes me back to "the good old days". A cracking fine novel for me.
However, I am not at all keen on this latest book. Firstly, this book sounds like a copy of the last one, just in a different setting. And secondly, the story is rather muddled in many places and riddled with inconsistencies.
Also, Ms. Malliet is using both US and English terms in the same book, which I find somewhat irritating.
In this latest book, Ms. Malliet uses US sizes for clothes (Lexy Laurant thinks to herself that she is a size 4).
What the heck is a size 4? I am not familiar with those sizes, and I am sure, neither was Lexy, being from the UK.
Also, just as an example, the word 'travelling' was written both the English and the American way, and both the English term 'Mobile Phone' and the American term 'Cell Phone' is used. In fact, St. Just was 'thinking about Seb's cell phone' in one instance.
And why did Ms. Malliet use a many-syllable GERMAN word like "Oberbürgermeister" in her story? Only someone who speaks German would know what she is talking about. And what does ZAFTIG mean? Apparently, St. Just thinks that word applies to Portia. What language is ZAFTIG? It's not English and it's not German. The closest I can get to a German word is Saftig, with an 'S', which means 'Juicy' in English. But I can't imagine that's what St. Just meant.
Another thing I have noticed is that Ms. Malliet writes in an old-fashioned style, but the story plays in the present. I can't remember when I last heard anyone under the age of 75 using the word "Jolly" (and "rum", unless they are talking about the alcoholic variety). That's very "Jeeves and Wooster", and sounds completely wrong in this modern world story.
In fact, I would have much preferred it if Ms. Malliet's stories were set in the early 1900s, especially with her style of writing.
Right after I found out who the killer was, this book landed straight in the bin.