A Conventional Corpse
A Claire Malloy Mystery
By Joan Hess
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312246624, 288pp.)
Publication Date: June 2000
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Farberville, Arkansas is playing host to its first ever mystery convention. Sponsored by the Thurber Farber Foundation and held at Farber College, Murder Comes to Campus is playing host to five major mystery writers representing all areas of the field. Dragooned into running the show when the original organizer is hospitalized, local bookseller Claire Malloy finds herself in the midst of a barely controlled disaster. Not only do each of the writers present their own set of idiosyncracies and difficulties (including one who arrives with her cat Wimple in tow), the feared, distrusted, and disliked mystery editor of Paradigm House, Roxanne Small, puts in a surprise appearance at the conference. Added to Claire's own love-life woes with local police detective Peter Rosen, things have never been worse.
Then when one of the attendees dies in a suspicious car accident, Wimple the cat disappears from Claire's home, and Roxanne Small is nowhere to be found, it becomes evident that the murder mystery is more than a literary genre.
Joan Hess is the winner of the American Mystery Award and the author of twelve previous Claire Malloy books, including Dear Miss Demeanor and Strangled Prose, as well as the Maggody mystery series. A member of Sisters in Crime and a former president of the American Crime Writers League, she lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
"Hess goes about things in a lively style. Her heroine, Claire Malloy, has a sharp eye and an irreverent way of describing what she sees." -- The New York Times Book Review
"Hess's style - that of a more worldly Erma Bombeck - rarely flags. Amiable entertainment with an edge." -- Kirkus Reviews