Book Review: A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders


A Murder of MagpiesA Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:   It's just another day at the office for London book editor Samantha "Sam" Clair. Checking jacket copy for howlers, wondering how to break it to her star novelist that her latest effort is utterly unpublishable, lunch scheduled with gossipy author Kit Lowell, whose new book will dish the juicy dirt on a recent fashion industry scandal. Little does she know the trouble Kit's book will cause-before it even goes to print. When police Inspector Field turns up at the venerable offices of Timmins & Ross, asking questions about a package addressed to Sam, she knows something is wrong. Now Sam's nine-to-five life is turned upside down as she finds herself propelled into a criminal investigation. Someone doesn't want Kit's manuscript published and unless Sam can put the pieces together in time, they'll do anything to stop it.


With this deliciously funny debut novel, acclaimed author Judith Flanders introduces readers to an enormously enjoyable, too-clever-for-her-own-good new amateur sleuth, as well Sam's Goth assistant, her effortlessly glamorous mother, and the handsome Inspector Field. A tremendously entertaining read, this page-turning novel from a bright new crime fiction talent is impossible to put down.


London book editor Samantha “Sam” Clair has an author who's gone missing. Kit has written a gossipy, tell-all on a fashion industry scandal & now that it's about to go to publication, all kinds of trouble has ensued. Enter police Inspector Field asking questions about a package addressed to Sam and Sam's nine-to-five life is turned upside down as she finds herself in the middle of a criminal investigation. Someone doesn't want Kit's manuscript published and unless Sam can put the pieces together in time, they'll do anything to stop it.

I liked this mystery and I don't know why but I'm on the fence as to whether it's a cozy or not. Whatever it is, one thing is clear, Sam is a great protagonist to follow and she brings the wit. It was a nice look in at a publishing house and the characters that populated her office were worth meeting. I really enjoyed the turn the Toujours Twenty-one book thread took by the end. I liked Kit and was really hoping things would turn out okay for him as he's our main victim in the mystery. I also enjoyed Sam's mother, Helena. I did think Sam dwelt a bit too much on her mother's overall proficiency and if I'm honest, Sam's constant lament throughout that women are universally ignored from age 35 on, was a bit tedious too. Still, a main character needs some flaws and things that niggle at you so, I didn't really mind. Those weren't enough to put me off from Sam one bit. I liked Jack though I did feel he wasn't very strongly drawn a character. The mystery was well done as well and I did not work out the killer(s) and give lots of credit that it was a pretty well layered trail that worked it's way through the story to the final pages. Overall, very enjoyable with a great protagonist and peopled with other characters that often were quirky, annoying or otherwise interesting enough to be worth not just meeting but remembering. I've no idea if this will become a series (and I truly don't need one more series to add to my list of books) but if the author writes another, I'll surely read it.

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