G M Malliet

Death of a Cozy Writer

The first book in the St. Just Mystery series, 2008

For my husband.


Many people helped this book into existence, but it might not have made it at all but for the early encouragement of playwright Terryl Paiste.

My sincerest thanks also to the tireless volunteers of the Malice Domestic conference, who further midwifed this novel via their generous award of the Malice Domestic Grant (now renamed in memory of the beloved William F. Deeck).

The members of Sisters in Crime, particularly those of the Chesapeake Chapter, were there when I needed them, which was often.

I would also like to offer heartfelt thanks to the staff of Midnight Ink, beginning with Barbara Moore.

Many thanks also to Muir Ainsley, who patiently and correctly answered all my questions about British arcana without once asking me to please leave him alone. Any mistakes in the novel are entirely mine.

And as always, thanks to my husband, for his patience, love, and support through what must have seemed to him an endless and everlasting process.


While the city and University of Cambridge, England, are of course real, as are Scotland and Cornwall, I have entirely invented the characters in this book who act out their imagined lives against these beautiful backdrops.

Peterhouse likewise exists, but DCI Arthur St. Just is not a real-life alumnus of that hallowed seat of learning.

In some cases, I have invented a village or manor house, such as Newton Coombe and Waverley Court, and placed them somewhat randomly in Cambridgeshire.

And there is now a castle in Scotland that exists only in my imagination.


Ruthven Beauclerk-Fisk-eldest son of Sir Adrian, ruthless Ruthven was heir-apparent to his father’s vast fortune, until his father unexpectedly announced plans to remarry.

Lillian Beauclerk-Fisk-Ruthven’s social-climbing wife, she mostly found murder frightfully inconvenient.

Sarah Beauclerk-Fisk-fuddled and unhappy, she inherited her father’s gift for penning best-selling books. Did she inherit his mean streak, as well?

Albert Beauclerk-Fisk-Sir Adrian’s youngest son. A failed actor and designated black sheep of the family, Albert’s one remaining ambition was to protect sister Sarah from suspicion of murder.

Chloe, Lady Beauclerk-Fisk-Sir Adrian’s former wife, and the mother of his unhappy brood. Did life with Sir Adrian drive her to drink-or to murder?

Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk-a famous writer of mystery novels in the “cozy” genre, Sir Adrian had a devilish talent for making noirish mischief.

Jeffrey Spencer-Sir Adrian’s secretary, an earnest American expat in search of his roots. His attentions to Sarah Beauclerk-Fisk enraged his employer.

Maria Romano-Sir Adrian’s long-time cook, she was the only person at Waverley Court who seemed to have a soft spot for the cantankerous author.

William Watters-The elderly gardener of Waverley Court saw no evil-until someone tried to frame him for murder.

Jim Tanner-Proud proprietor of the local Thorn and Crown.

George Beauclerk-Fisk-Ne’er-do-well son, failed entrepreneur, and playboy, his sibling’s death increased George’s chances in the inheritance sweepstakes.

Natasha Wellings-George’s latest girlfriend: slim, dark, and beautiful. People wondered: Whatever did she see in George?

Paulo Romano-Butler to Sir Adrian, Mrs. Romano’s son spent little time butlering and vast amounts skulking about Waverley Court.

Violet Mildenhall-Notorious in her heyday, her marriage of convenience to Sir Adrian proved less than convenient when it thrust her into the middle of a murder investigation-again.

Martha-Mrs. Romano’s daily help.

Constable Porter, Sergeant Garwin Fear, and Dr. Malenfant- Loyal aides-de-camp to Detective Chief Inspector St. Just of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

DCI Arthur St. Just-Crime halted his plans for a ski holiday when Sir Adrian’s devious machinations snowballed into murder.

Mrs. Ketchen-Elderly maid to Chloe, Lady Beauclerk-Fisk.

Manda Croom-Ruthven’s efficient business associate and once- besotted paramour, she viewed murder at Waverley Court as a career opportunity.

Quentin Coffield, Esq.-a supercilious solicitor who played along with Sir Adrian’s dangerous propensity to change his will, at will.

Mrs. Butter-Sir Adrian’s former secretary. Albert enlisted her help in learning what the secretive Adrian had been plotting.

Mrs. Mott-a nurse in Cornwall.

Agnes Grant-a cook who bore witness to a crime long, long ago in Scotland.

No one reigns innocently


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