cover image Murder as a Second Language: A Claire Malloy Mystery

Murder as a Second Language: A Claire Malloy Mystery

Joan Hess. Minotaur, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-01196-1

In Hess’s winning 19th Claire Malloy mystery (after 2012’s Deader Homes and Gardens), Claire’s daughter, Caron, and Caron’s best friend, Inez, sign on as ESL tutors so they can put community service on their college applications. Claire also tries to volunteer at the Farberville, Ark., Literacy Council, but she winds up instead joining the board of directors. One of the ESL students, elderly Ludmila Grabowski, is found dead in a council storage room, and it appears as though she fell and hit her head against a copying machine, but someone appears to have dragged her body into a corner to try to conceal it. Claire’s new husband, Deputy Chief Peter Rosen, actually asks for her help in what becomes a murder case—which is a good thing, since she’s going to snoop anyway. Claire discovers that her fellow board members had plenty to hide as she investigates with her usual humor and panache. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (Dec.)