Reviews for Death at the Alma Mater


Booklist Reviews 2010 January #1
*Starred Review* The reader who hasn't yet discovered Malliet's St. Just Mystery series has a real treat in store. This third in the series is every bit as good as its predecessors (Death of a Cozy Writer, 2008, and Death of the Lit Chick, 2009). This time St. Just is back in Cambridgeshire, England, and the romance between him and author Portia De'Ath seems to be on the fast track. De'Ath is working on her thesis at St. Michael's College, Cambridge, and is asked by the college master to help entertain a collection of wealthy alums attending a fund-raising weekend reunion. One of the alums is found murdered near the college boathouse, and the suspects seem to include every other alum in attendance, plus the college staff and students. Detective Chief Inspector St. Just and his assistant, Sergeant Fear, are called in to solve the crime. Malliet's description of Cambridge college life, the various faculty, staff, students and alums, is spot-on and highly entertaining. The conceit of slyly naming some characters after an attribute associated with their occupation or character (St. Just the detective, Mary Goose the college chef, and Dr. Malenfant the pathologist, for example) is clever without being overdone. Longtime cozy fans will be reminded of golden age classics starring Dorothy Sayers' Harriet Vane and Edmund Crispin's Gervase Fen. Malliet's writing is both smooth and elegant and her humor delicious. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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ForeWord Magazine Reviews 2010 January/February
Lexy Durant was drop-dead gorgeous, ambitious, and successful. She inspired envy in those she met, making the fortunate person who stood next to her feel woefully inadequate. Her sense of style was the epitome of perfection, and those who knew her found she had intelligence behind her empty-headed façade. Lexy had dates, privileges, and perks. Lexy had sex appeal and money…and an unstable acquaintance who wanted her to drop dead.At a prestigious Cambridge fundraiser to raise money for dilapidated St. Michael's College, this beautiful woman met her worst enemy and took her last breath. Lexy's body is found brutally strangled; her demise generates an intimidating list of rich and not-so-rich suspects. Ensnared in a dangerous, wealthy domain where competitive jealousy rules, Detective Chief Inspector St. Just will need to determine who would not want Lexy dead before he can solve his mystery. A titled ex-husband with his suspicious second wife; a new boyfriend wallowing in debt; a secretive oil tycoon from Texas; or an unknown, opportunistic rival may have found the right moment and acted on impulse.St. Just follows his leads with painstaking precision, cross-examining even the most upright individuals with cynical awareness of the baser human instincts. No one is immune to this astute inspector's scrutiny, and no one will succeed in hiding a heinous act of murder. Skeptical and careful, St. Just takes the reader on a fascinating investigation of the college-educated social elite, exposing their sordid transactions and behind-the-scenes maneuvers. Filled with unexpected disclosures and shocking discoveries, each chapter takes an original turn. As St. Just determines who would want Lexy Durant dead, he must look beyond impetus and confront every individual's potential ability to implement a gruesome fantasy. Some cases go beyond mere motivation and explore the recesses of an egotistical person's mind. In the end, it's not a matter of who may have wanted to kill Lexy, but who actually had the audacity to follow through with this deranged crime.In the classic tradition of Sherlock Holmes and other British mysteries, G.M. Malliet presents a meticulous novel with sophistication and uncomplicated restraint. Malliet keeps mystery fans guessing without thrusting overwhelming or unnecessary detail into her well-researched scenes. Rather than taunting with false, hammy escapades, she stays realistic and believable from the viewpoint of a methodical inspector on the job. Death at the Alma Mater is book three in her Agatha Award-winning St. Just series. (January) Julia Ann Charpentier 2010 ForeWord Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2010 January #1

Prestigious St. Michael's College in Cambridge needs money and invites its most successful and wealthiest graduates back for a weekend of nostalgia and fund-raising. A murder brings DCI Arthur St. Just (Death of a Cozy Writer Death and the Lit Chick) and Sergeant Fear to the scene, where they find plenty of suspects. VERDICT Fans of Dorothy Sayers's novels and other Golden Age British mysteries will enjoy this contemporary salute, which even includes the traditional gathering of suspects at the end when the detective reveals all.

[Page 75]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 November #5

At the start of Agatha-winner Malliet's witty third cozy to feature Det. Chief Insp. Arthur St. Just (after 2009's Death and the Lit Chick), potential benefactors to St. Michael's College at the University of Cambridge gather at St. Mike's for an alumni Open Weekend. When someone strangles Alexandra "Lexy" Laurant, the glamorous socialite ex-wife of another attendee, pompous writer Sir James Bassett, St. Just investigates. The Cambridgeshire policeman soon uncovers a host of suspects, including Geraldo Valentiano, Lexy's playboy honey; Gwennap Pengelly, a TV reporter desperate for a scoop; Augie Cramb, a dot-com millionaire; and American financier Karl Dunning and his complaining wife, Constance. Crime novelist Portia De'Ath, St. Just's girlfriend, who longs for crusty Arthur to be more romantic, provides invaluable help in sussing out the killer. (Jan.)

[Page 32]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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