The one about the lethal dangers of publishing

Judith Flanders, A Murder of Magpies (2014)

I couldn’t believe that Judith Flanders has turned to writing mysteries! And not even one set in Victorian England! Where have I been all this time, living in a cavern with no connection?

I didn’t have any willpower to resist this sweet temptation, so I had to stop any other book I was reading and jump the whole queue of fascinating books dutifully waiting their turn in my TBR pile.

The result? Fun, fun, fun. I had to stifle my giggles in the train, stifle my giggles next to Mr. Smithereens in bed, stifle my giggles in the middle of the night after Mr. S. shut his light off and I had to continue reading using the Kindle Paperwhite tiny glow.

The plot is a bit complex to my taste, navigating between fashion scandals, money laundering, libel laws, and Flanders introduces us to quite a back story on her heroine but the pace is satisfyingly brisk, red herrings flew over my head left and right. The tone is cozy and light-hearted, but despite the pastel blue cover our heroine Samantha Clair is a rather down-to-earth, mature lady who is only too aware that the office politics often don’t play in her favor.

On the cover you can see that both Louise Penny and Donna Leon endorsed the book. They are big names indeed, but to me Judith Flanders’ book is more akin to Sarah Caudwell’s, who wrote some of my favorite witty mysteries ever. Think tongue-in-cheek British humor, Bridget Jones working for a publisher, or Posy Simmonds’ literary professionals stumbling on a corpse after a cocktail party. Also, for those who remember Miss Snark’s blog, Sam is just her British counterpart.

I saw a copy on Netgalley but wasn’t given one. Instead I bought a discount copy on Kindle. Yes, I’m a  cheapskate sometimes. But now that I’m addicted to it, I’ll surely agree to pay the full price for the next mystery! Uh, paperback, okay?


7 thoughts on “The one about the lethal dangers of publishing

  1. This sounds fun! I have to admit that I’ve found some of Judith Flanders non-fic a bit of a struggle, but this looks the perfect thing for brightening up February. Isn’t it so sad when you don’t hear back from a Netgalley request (or even worse, you get a refusal *sobs*)?

  2. I love these and I think you’re correct to liken them to Sarah Caudwell, that is definitely who her work reminds me of. There is already a second one available, ‘A Bed of Scorpions’ and ‘A Cast of Vultures’ is due out next month.

  3. Oh I am delighted by the Sarah Caudwell comparison! I love her books — actually I should reread them sometime soon! — so I’ll definitely want to check out Judith Flanders. I have found that mystery novels are the perfect reading fare for when I exercise!

  4. Pingback: Smithereens’ 2016 Books | Smithereens

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