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.

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.

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.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 June #4

Davina Porter delivers a delightful reading of this old school style English mystery. St. Michael's College, a venerable Cambridge institution of higher learning, has fallen on hard times and the school's coffers are weak. In an effort to raise some badly needed funds, the college hosts a group of wealthy alumni for a fundraising weekend. But all plans are thrown into disarray when one of the guests is found strangled and it is up to Detective Chief Inspector St. Just and loyal assistant Sergeant Fear to sift through the eccentric group of suspects and apprehend the murderer. Porter brings an obvious enjoyment of the material to her reading of Malliet's novel, keeping the story moving forward at good clip, her absorbing reading perfectly fitting the tone of the book. She is more than adept in her characterizations--whether portraying a very British college master or a boorish American, she gives each character a distinctive voice that fits them to a tee. Most successful is her portrayal of Detective St. Just. A droll, professional copper with a heart, Porter makes him shine every time he appears. For those who like their murder stories more genteel than gritty this is a perfect listen. A Midnight Ink paperback. (May)

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