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St. Just Mystery #2

Death and the Lit Chick

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Wildly successful chick lit mystery writer Kimberlee Kalder is the guest of honor at an exclusive writers' conference at Dalmorton Castle in Scotland. But the fun ends when Kimberlee is found dead at the bottom of the castle's bottle dungeon. Who didn't want to see prima donna Kimberlee brutally extinguished like one of her ill-fated characters? It's up to Detective Chief Inspector St. Just to track down the true killer in a castle full of cagey mystery connoisseurs who live and breathe malicious murder and artful alibis...

9 pages, Audio CD

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

G.M. Malliet

29 books629 followers
Award-winning author G.M. Malliet attended Oxford University and holds a graduate degree from the University of Cambridge. She now lives in the US.

She is represented by literary agent Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media Group, New York. Contact information for Mr. Gottlieb can be found at www.gmmalliet.com/contact.html, where you can also subscribe to her newsletter.

Follow her Amazon author page for book release updates.


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5 stars
268 (14%)
4 stars
652 (35%)
3 stars
715 (39%)
2 stars
153 (8%)
1 star
29 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 219 reviews
Profile Image for Pamelabyoung.
65 reviews
October 24, 2011
A wonderful mystery in the style of Agatha Christie, this book includes an enormous cast of characters that, surprisingly, is not confusing. The author includes a long, detailed cast list at the beginning of the book and, at first glance, I thought I would not be able to keep up with them all. However, the author introduces each of them well and begins to weave an intricate web of interconnectedness that is fascinating and really hard to put down. I read this in one long Sunday afternoon and feel as though I know this group of often annoying, sometimes sympathetic, generally self-centered writers.

The setting is a medieval Scottish castle outside of Edinburgh and the author delighted this reader by including a map of the castle. I love a book with a map! DCI St. Just is an engaging central character who is invited to a writers' conference to lead a session on real crime, but ends up having to solve one when one of the writers is murdered. I hated for the book to end and immediately looked up the other 3 books by G.M. Malliet, which I intend to read soon. How nice to read a well-written, classic mystery.
Profile Image for Laura.
132 reviews579 followers
July 2, 2011
Huh-larious. From the woman who brought us Death and the Cozy Writer comes a new installment of murder among spectacularly absurd people. This time they’re an assortment of mystery writers at a conference at some Scottish castle. Most of them have a motive for killing the star of the conference, a hack arriviste whose books are obviously inferior and yet, inexplicably, sell better. (The cow probably didn’t even write them herself!) To add insult to injury, she is also a blond knockout who’s about to make off with someone’s husband, or maybe she already did – I can’t remember many details, including who the murderer was, because the mystery is secondary to the amusement. I think the solution somehow hinges on the castle’s floor plan, so pay attention to the map in the front. I always skip that sort of thing because I have no sense of spacial relations. Perfect for wiling away a couple of hours.
Profile Image for Sharla.
472 reviews51 followers
April 16, 2015
There were holes in the plot big enough to drive a bulldozer through but since it's a farce from start to finish I guess it's okay. It was amusing although I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the first one.
Profile Image for Ellie.
1,493 reviews378 followers
September 11, 2013
I always enjoy G.M. Malliet's writing and I love her contribution to fun fiction detectives, St. Just. Death and the Lit Chick is the second in the St. Just series and it is a pleasurable English manor mystery, when the manor is filled with mystery writers desperate to be published and one young beautiful author who has scored a major hit with a cross-over genre: mystery a la chick lit a la roman a clef. Everybody has reasons to hate Kimberlee so when she is murdered, the problem is too many people with too many motives. But St. Just, still recovering from the death of his beloved wife may find both professional and personal satisfaction working on this case.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,892 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2020
"Wildly successful chick lit mystery writer Kimberlee Kalder is the guest of honor at an exclusive writers' conference at Dalmorton Castle in Scotland. But the fun ends when Kimberlee is found dead at the bottom of the castle's bottle dungeon. Who didn't want to see prima donna Kimberlee brutally extinguished like one of her ill-fated characters? It's up to Detective Chief Inspector St. Just to track down the true killer in a castle full of cagey mystery connoisseurs who live and breathe malicious murder and artful alibis ..."
~~back flap

Nice plot; good characterization. But somehow it just didn't grab me -- it seemed ho hum and reminiscent of a lot of other mysteries I've read.
Profile Image for ☺Trish.
1,167 reviews
January 26, 2019
Entertaining mystery set in an atmospheric Scottish castle turned hotel - chock full of turrets, priest holes, a moat & drawbridge, and a bottle dungeon. Three stars for the murder mystery and one extra star for the awesome setting. I have to admit, I am loving G. M. Malliet's characters & story endings!
On to the next . . .
Profile Image for Nancy.
853 reviews20 followers
March 10, 2018
What I am enjoying most about this series is how well the author lampoons the subject group. In the first book it was the English aristocracy, in this one it is writers, crime writers in particular. I find it so enjoyable how the characters are written to show the worst of these groups, yet it is all still surrounded by a jolly good crime and a really fun yarn.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
2,414 reviews27 followers
August 6, 2013
Inspector St. Just of Cambridge has the dubious honor of presenting a panel at a mystery writers' conference, which includes a stay at the historic Dalmorton Castle in Scotland along with several authors and publicists from the Drawn Dagger (I think that was the name) publishing house. Among them is the gorgeous and poisonous Kimberlee Kalder, who shot to fame and fortune with her chick lit mystery, 'Dying for a Latte.' Everyone at the castle, it seems has some reason to hate Kimberlee, so it's no real surprise when she's found murdered in the castle dungeon. St. Just teams up with the local inspector to investigate, and finds out just what a desperate and bloody cast of characters mystery writers, agents, and publicists really are. Except for Portia De'Ath, the intelligent and breathtaking author from Cambridge, whom St. Just really hopes is not the murderer...

Malliet writes modern cozy mysteries with just a touch of irony, which I appreciate--she indulges those of us who still really like the traditional British stately home murder, while acknowledging, as if to a good friend, that it's all a bit much. She also delightfully skewers the publishing and writing industry--authors seem to delight in doing that, as Elizabeth Peters does to romance writers--and creates an interesting and colorful cast of characters. She includes a character list and map, reminiscent of Christie, which I also like--I kept referring back to it to keep everything straight. Overall, this is just a fun cozy mystery in a Scottish castle (what could be better?), made believable for a modern audience as the castle is a hotel and everyone has laptops. The one thing I didn't quite believe was that Inspector Moor would so thoroughly turn over the investigation to an unknown inspector from England, but I'll overlook that. Otherwise, full marks. There's even a ghost.
Profile Image for Monique.
1,016 reviews60 followers
June 15, 2011
Okay so started this novel before an international trip and finished it on the plane and didnt really like the ending, it seemed rushed and contrived to me and the story had so much promise..Okay so this is a mystery along the same vein of one of my favorite mysteries And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie with the smart and thought provoking premise of a group of mystery writers convening in a castle when one particularly annoying author is murderered and because of the eerie secluded setting they are stranded..with a murderer...Okay so what I really did enjoy in this book is the most well drawn character and ultimately the murder victim Kimberlee, a seemingly ditzy and silly girl who penned a rare money making novel aimed at the twenty and thirty-something females of the world, a literary breath of fresh air to everyone but her fellow writers..Kimberlee is portrayed as silly and somewhat spiteful and every mystery writer gathered in the castle have ample reason to hate her and want her gone and it is up to Detective St. Just, the brillant but boring detective stuck there to solve the case..I must admit the conclusion was well thought out and had me stumped at first until the delicious realization that the mystery is solved settles in but overall I think there should have been more there to make it believable...it was better now that I think about it but a good read that maybe should get a 2.5 rating, would definitely read more by the author, hopefully Detective St. Just gets more interesting and fleshed out..
Profile Image for Andrea.
Author 25 books784 followers
May 7, 2015
This is the first narrated audiobook I've tried (I've listened to books before, but using the entertainly unmusical and robotic voice that comes with my phone). It's quite difficult to separate my opinion of the book from the narration - I'm fairly sure the story would have read slightly differently to me if I'd read it instead of listened to it.

However, I can listen to books during my day job! I'm trialling a Scribd subscription, which makes audiobooks not so financially steep a prospect.

This is a murder featuring a Cambridge detective who has been invited to a mystery writers convention. St Just is an okay detective, a bit...whiny about his desire to explore a new-found passion for a woman he's met, instead of investigating a murder.

The story itself is tremendously arch, full of in-jokes and digs at the mystery writer community. The narration - by Davina Porter - is very skilled, but at the same time exacerbates the arch air. [I also couldn't stand the breathy little-girl voice she used for a few of the women.]

I may check out another in this series (this turned out to be book 2), but it definitely falls into the "okay" not "compulsive" range.
Profile Image for judy.
947 reviews18 followers
January 9, 2010
So how many mysteries have you read where a gaggle of authors head to a conference and one of the dies? Yep. In this one, however, the author seems to be having a bit of fun with us by reviving some classic British mystery scenes and adding cell phones and laptops. I knew instantly where the book was going but the writing was bright and amusing enough to keep me on board. The ending was a bit "meh" but it could have been much worse. I shudder to think of, perhaps, a hot summer day where our hero and heroine run to each other from opposite sides of the bridge. Fortunately, the author was doing a spoof of mysteries and not romances. I missed the first book in the series and have the sense that I should have started there. Of course, my library system doesn't have Book 1 but oh well.
Profile Image for Megan.
2,222 reviews11 followers
June 3, 2010
This is not actually a chick lit book. It starts a male detective trying to solve a murder at a mystery writer's conference. It is pretty good, and has some funny moments based around writing a mystery staring characters who write mysteries. However, the big reveal was based largely around not mentioning certain details to the reader. Sure, that made it harder to guess one of our conspirators, but it's the cheap way to do it.
56 reviews
June 18, 2010
I enjoyed this second-in-a-series book. It was a new take on the country house murder. The detective was interesting, the other characters rather broadly drawn. For light mystery entertainment, I think I would try G. M. Malliet again. This was a good antidote to Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride. There is even a line in Lit Chick refering to most current British crime fiction as "tres, tres noir" which Cold Granite definitely is.
Profile Image for Gabi Coatsworth.
Author 5 books160 followers
June 9, 2023
Listened to the audiobook and I think I preferred the actual book. For one thing, the author includes a list of characters at the front, which is handy, because there are a lot of them. In the audiobook, the narrator didn’t differentiate between American characters and British ones, which sometimes made it difficult to follow.
The plot invoke Ed a lot of crime writers, and as an author myself, I found that interesting.
Profile Image for Caroline.
213 reviews
June 3, 2010
Wonderful! So glad I got this book at Malice! Can't wait to read the one before this and the one after now. Arthur St. Just is a really good character and the send off of the mystery-writing field is hilarious. Really recommend.
Profile Image for Deb.
Author 25 books226 followers
June 30, 2009
G.M. Malliet won all kinds of nominations and awards for the first in the series. With the second, she's going to do it again. Love St. Just.
Profile Image for Lizzytish .
1,603 reviews
January 11, 2013
Take a castle in Scotland, a dark and stormy night, rumors of a haunting stirred together with a group of mystery writers and you have a recipe for murder. Along with a sprinkling of humor.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
2,117 reviews3 followers
May 25, 2014
This book was a lot of fun and the denouement was surprising.
Profile Image for Phoebe.
55 reviews4 followers
July 10, 2016
It was alright; though I would have preferred the murder to happen earlier. The prologue was boring and unnecessary- although the epilogue was okay.
771 reviews7 followers
July 19, 2017
The is the first of the 'St Just' series I have come across and I'm not greatly impressed. It's effectively a country house murder in a snowstorm kind of plot, but set in a Scottish castle turned into a hotel surrounded by a moat which is accessed across a drawbridge which is raised at night. Needless to say, the murder takes place when the drawbridge is raised and cannot be lowered due to a power failure. Those in the hotel are an assortment of crime writers, literary agents and general hangers on, plus our plucky detective. Needless to say the unmasking to the perpetrator and the means of the murder are explained in the final chapters while all are gathered together. The murderee is a writer of a best selling book. This is where details get fuzzy. Was the book chick lit or crime? We are led to the former, but why is she at a criminal authors' conference? She is said to be a multi millionaire as a result of this book - or is it books? The numbers of her writings do get muddled. I guess a lot of money could be made from film rights, newspapers serialisations etc. but this tome seems fairly new. Quite what DCI St Just is doing at the conference is never clearly explained. Why the Scottish police are happy to set him loose on detecting on their manor and what they get up to while his detecting is happening is also glossed over. The there are silly things that my picky brain seizes on. Some travel to Edinburgh by train (in a book set in the present) travelling in compartments. There haven't been compartments on Anglo-Scottish trains for at least 30 years. I have another book in the series to read - I'll see if that's any improvement. Clearly this book was written for an American audience - there are US spellings such as color - and the copyrigfht date is 2009 in the US, with the UK paperback appearing in 2015.
515 reviews1 follower
December 17, 2022
Is this book a roman a clef, or is it just very cleverly put together, as the Denver Post critic put it, "An absolutely delicious skewering of the world of mystery publishing..." as well as calling it witty and skillful. While I did not figure out whodunit and depended on Inspector St. Just to lay it all out, I think the clues were all there.

There are many allusions to real mystery writers, and I often wondered if some of the characters were disguised versions of the authors or of the characters the authors invented. For instance, one character is called "Jay Fforde," and there is a real mystery writer whose name is Jasper Fforde. I think St. Just's love interest, Portia De'Ath is an allusion to Lord Peter Death Whimsey, though I imagine her surname and his middle name are pronounced differently. Whatever, there is plenty on more than one level for the reader to enjoy.

My major criticism is, while appreciate there was a map of Dalmorton Castle, it did not contain all the places I needed to know about--for instance, where the heck is that priest hole located?
91 reviews2 followers
November 22, 2019
This was a fun read. The author pokes fun at the chick-lit genre in a book that is arguably chick-lit. I don't think the irony is lost on Malliet. It doesn't take itself too seriously and that made the book even more amusing and funny. For example, a main character who faced an ill fate is named "Kimberlee;" the characters snark at her dreadful name which we as readers are likely doing as well. A classic who-done-it ensues and there are plenty of suspects among the jealous and cut-throat crowd of writers, publishers, and literary agents. St. Just swoops in like a thief in the night and predictably solves the mystery as he navigates an unpredictable course. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would read more from the author.
513 reviews7 followers
August 30, 2021
A new author for me but I was intrigued to see what a modern Agatha Christie type novel would read like.
An excellent setting in a Scottish castle with a large but easily learnt cast.
Loved the pastiche of crime writers in general, I also would have happily murdered Kimberlee if just for the spelling of her name.
I loved the description of the castle and enjoyed seeing how the crime writers who are all the suspects lied in such a way that they could all of been the murderer.
A very well written tale, easy to read in a day too.
I found some of the descriptive passages a bit lengthy but overall an enjoyable book. Great to take on a long journey as it absorbing enough to make time pass without knowing it.
Profile Image for Lori.
515 reviews
December 24, 2021
Audible version: This one just makes you giggle the whole way through as it was about a conference for mystery writers and they all hate the super successful young writer because her books are all high heels, bouncy hair, and cell phones and theirs are becoming a bit stale. The cast of characters are all perfectly drawn. I like this G.M. Malliet! I bought all three of these St. Just Mysteries, and I'm guessing I'll get around to the 3rd one soon as these are the perfect listens for puzzling and cozy evenings indoors. And Florida right now is the perfect time for fluffy down comforters, wool socks, hot cocoa, and delightful mystery that keeps you giggling throughout! Davina Porter is the PERFECT narrator and possibly is the real reason I love these so much!
Profile Image for Shannon.
1,273 reviews21 followers
March 15, 2017
I'm giving this 4 stars because I once again failed to pinpoint the murderer. This may be partly due to the fact I occasionally tune this out when I'm listening and doing other things (I find this does happen with audiobooks), and it may be due somewhat to the narrator's voice (it lulls me), but I'm going to give credit that it may also be due to the writer.

I'm not overly impressed with this series simply because both books have been focused on writers and their lives, with a lot of what feels like snide, inside jabs at the industry and genre writers. Fun, but I'm not overly invested in the investigator or the mysteries to-date.
Profile Image for Megan.
386 reviews2 followers
May 22, 2017
Great writing style and humorous homage to the genre. Well, to several genres. Clever and fun, but points taken away for what I took to be a pointless romantic addition/sideplot and . Still, there was enough there to make me request the first one from the library and strongly consider checking out some of the other series Malliet's written.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 219 reviews

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