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A Brush with Death (Susie Mahl Mystery #1)

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Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey in this delightful new series introducing pet portraitist and amateur super-sleuth, Susie Mahl. In the village of Spire, murder is afoot. Rich landowner Alexander, 9th Earl of Greengrass, is caught with his trousers down in the village graveyard before meeting a gruesome end. Luckily Susie Mahl happens to be on hand. With her artist’s eye Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey in this delightful new series introducing pet portraitist and amateur super-sleuth, Susie Mahl. In the village of Spire, murder is afoot. Rich landowner Alexander, 9th Earl of Greengrass, is caught with his trousers down in the village graveyard before meeting a gruesome end. Luckily Susie Mahl happens to be on hand. With her artist’s eye for detail and her curious nature she is soon on the scent of the murderer… A BRUSH WITH DEATH combines a country house murder with a fascinating insight into the life of a working artist.


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Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey in this delightful new series introducing pet portraitist and amateur super-sleuth, Susie Mahl. In the village of Spire, murder is afoot. Rich landowner Alexander, 9th Earl of Greengrass, is caught with his trousers down in the village graveyard before meeting a gruesome end. Luckily Susie Mahl happens to be on hand. With her artist’s eye Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey in this delightful new series introducing pet portraitist and amateur super-sleuth, Susie Mahl. In the village of Spire, murder is afoot. Rich landowner Alexander, 9th Earl of Greengrass, is caught with his trousers down in the village graveyard before meeting a gruesome end. Luckily Susie Mahl happens to be on hand. With her artist’s eye for detail and her curious nature she is soon on the scent of the murderer… A BRUSH WITH DEATH combines a country house murder with a fascinating insight into the life of a working artist.

30 review for A Brush with Death (Susie Mahl Mystery #1)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)

    I have been picking up cozy mysteries more often this year and this one was a stand-out for me. I love British mysteries in particular, and this one took place among the upper classes, with the added perspective of a protagonist who is an outsider. The amateur sleuth, Susie Mahl, was relatable and refreshing. A thirty-something, single woman working as a pet portraitist, Susie gets involved in the mystery out of concern for close friends, but winds up being quite the detective. Highly recommende I have been picking up cozy mysteries more often this year and this one was a stand-out for me. I love British mysteries in particular, and this one took place among the upper classes, with the added perspective of a protagonist who is an outsider. The amateur sleuth, Susie Mahl, was relatable and refreshing. A thirty-something, single woman working as a pet portraitist, Susie gets involved in the mystery out of concern for close friends, but winds up being quite the detective. Highly recommended for fans of cozy mysteries, Agatha Christie, and for those looking for a detective story without gruesome details.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Painter Susie Mahl, who makes her living painting pet portraits for wealthy people, is hired by, and goes to stay with, a young couple who live near the Earl of Greengrass. He and his wife are friends of Susie's, which is why it's so shocking when she's among the small group that finds his dead body in the churchyard. The countess asks Susie to stay with her for a few days and help out--she finds her daughter-in-law sympathetic--and Susie thinks what would help the most is to find out how the ea Painter Susie Mahl, who makes her living painting pet portraits for wealthy people, is hired by, and goes to stay with, a young couple who live near the Earl of Greengrass. He and his wife are friends of Susie's, which is why it's so shocking when she's among the small group that finds his dead body in the churchyard. The countess asks Susie to stay with her for a few days and help out--she finds her daughter-in-law sympathetic--and Susie thinks what would help the most is to find out how the earl died. Luckily, she's able to enlist a pulse-stirring doctor to help her. First in a series.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marcia Killingsworth

    Sometimes you just need some mystery, some laughs, some witty wordplay, some clever plotting, some captivating characters, and some unexpected - but insightful - loo comparisons. PLUS PETS! (A dog here; a cameo by a wee black cat, for cat-lovers.). I thoroughly enjoyed this debut Susie (Vicky?) Mahl mystery. My only caveat is that we could've used more Situp and the wee black cat. 'A Brush with Death' is a fun, lively mystery, and I enthusiastically recommend it. I cannot wait for the next Susie M Sometimes you just need some mystery, some laughs, some witty wordplay, some clever plotting, some captivating characters, and some unexpected - but insightful - loo comparisons. PLUS PETS! (A dog here; a cameo by a wee black cat, for cat-lovers.). I thoroughly enjoyed this debut Susie (Vicky?) Mahl mystery. My only caveat is that we could've used more Situp and the wee black cat. 'A Brush with Death' is a fun, lively mystery, and I enthusiastically recommend it. I cannot wait for the next Susie Mahl/Ali Carter mystery!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anna At A Wondrous Bookshelf

    Susie Mahl is an artist who specializes in pet portraits. While staying with friends, the Earl and Countess of Greengrass at their beautiful house in the village of Spire, the Earl is found dead and Susie with her witty and inquisitive nature quickly starts her own investigation into the murder. I really enjoyed this light-hearted cozy mystery. Susie Mahl is a great detective. She is funny and witty and I loved how Carter combined a little bit of a country house murder as well as giving us some i Susie Mahl is an artist who specializes in pet portraits. While staying with friends, the Earl and Countess of Greengrass at their beautiful house in the village of Spire, the Earl is found dead and Susie with her witty and inquisitive nature quickly starts her own investigation into the murder. I really enjoyed this light-hearted cozy mystery. Susie Mahl is a great detective. She is funny and witty and I loved how Carter combined a little bit of a country house murder as well as giving us some insight into the life of an artist. This is a great read for fans of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple with a dash of Downton Abbey. This is Ali Carter’s first novel and the first book in the new series about pet portraitist and super-sleuth Susie Mahl. I would like to thank the author and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Samuel

    A glittering, funny and sharply observed cosy murder mystery in a quintessential English country setting. Wonderful details, great characters and a welcome new talent.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    A very enjoyable and entertaining book. It kept hooked till the end. It's well written and with very intersting characters. Recommended! Many thanks to Netgalley and Oneworld Publications

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christa Potter

    This was a super-sweet book. Light on suspense and intrigue, but pleasant with well-developed characters and great artistic metaphors. And cute dogs. He main character is an every-woman, and I liked her.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kate Boyle

    A lovely, easy to read novel which I thoroughly enjoyed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    Susie is an artist who paints pets, usually for the well-heeled in and around Sussex. Staying with her friends, the Greengrasses, while painting a neighbor’s dog, Susie becomes embroiled in the murder of Lord Greengrass. A pleasant whodunit, with a large cast of unique characters, a good debut for this author.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chazzi

    I received this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Susie Mahl is an artist who does commission work, portraits of pets. She travels in the world of the aristocracy, as they are her best clients. And has learned the ways and manners of this British social class. While visiting the Greengrasses at Beckenstale Manor, the family estate, she is introduced to the Codringtons who have just moved into Glebe House. The Codringtons commission Susie to do a portrait of their dog, at a later date. Duri I received this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Susie Mahl is an artist who does commission work, portraits of pets. She travels in the world of the aristocracy, as they are her best clients. And has learned the ways and manners of this British social class. While visiting the Greengrasses at Beckenstale Manor, the family estate, she is introduced to the Codringtons who have just moved into Glebe House. The Codringtons commission Susie to do a portrait of their dog, at a later date. During her stay with the Codringtons, Susie finds Lord Greengrass dead on the ground in the church cemetery. True, he is 75, but still active. Why should he suddenly be dead? The police suspect murder. Tops on the list of suspects are Arthur and Asquintha, the son and his wife of Lord Greengrass. Diana, Lady Greengrass, also has suspicions about Asquintha. Diana asks Susie to stay on with her, while the investigation goes on and till after the funeral. With Susie's eye for detail and her drive for knowing if it truly is murder and who the killer is, she is out to solve the mystery. When she meets up with mortuary clerk, Dr. Toby Cropper, she finds a helpmate of sorts in finding clues. A fun, quick moving British cozy, I am looking forward to reading following books in this new series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    WHPL Reference

    Find it at the West Hempstead Public Library http://encore.alisweb.org/iii/encore/...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lesa

    Fans of "Downton Abbey" and books involving the rich British upper-class may enjoy Ali Carter's debut mystery, A Brush with Death. I found it a little too detailed and slow-paced for my taste, but those who enjoy all the details of English grand homes may enjoy this. Susie Mahl, the narrator, is what I see as a hanger-on. She's an artist whose specialty is painting pet portraits, so she spends time at grand homes all over England as she studies the pets. She's quite comfortable with the lifestyle Fans of "Downton Abbey" and books involving the rich British upper-class may enjoy Ali Carter's debut mystery, A Brush with Death. I found it a little too detailed and slow-paced for my taste, but those who enjoy all the details of English grand homes may enjoy this. Susie Mahl, the narrator, is what I see as a hanger-on. She's an artist whose specialty is painting pet portraits, so she spends time at grand homes all over England as she studies the pets. She's quite comfortable with the lifestyle of the rich upper-class, and depends on referrals. While she's staying with the Earl and Countess of Greengrass, Diana, Lady Greengrass refers Diana to new neighbors, Ben and Antonia Codrington. That meeting leads to a commission for Susie, one that puts her in the right spot when Alexander, the Earl of Greengrass, dies. Susie's to paint the Codrington's dog, Situp, but she's surprised to find another guest at their house when she arrives. Henry Dunstan-Sherbet is a doctor and a lifelong friend of Ben's. After Situp digs up a skull from the local graveyard, Ben, Henry and Susie head there one Sunday morning to bury it again. They're together when they hear noises, and find Alexander with his pants down outside the church. At seventy-five, Alexander seems a little young for death, but everyone is shocked when the police say he was murdered. When Susie realizes she's part of a murder investigation, she's thrilled. She sees parallels between investigating a murder and painting a picture. Both call for careful observation. She's convinced she can solve the case with a combination of her obsessive observation and "nosy-parker instincts". Frankly, Susie Mahl was not my favorite amateur sleuth. At thirty-two, she feels she's all-knowing about the lives of the rich British landowners. Her obsession with her French lingerie seems a little out-of-place. It's only my opinion, but she comes across as too ingratiating. There's a contemporary setting in A Brush with Death, but its slow pace and detailed descriptions remind me of the Golden Age mysteries. Perhaps that's what Carter was trying to emulate with her debut. It didn't quite work for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    Given the blurb's mentioning Downton Abbey, I thought this mystery would be set in the early 1900's rather than in contemporary times. I like period mysteries, but nonetheless this one held my interest very much. The characters were engaging, though a little under-developed and sort of stereotypical, the dog Situp was cute, and I truly enjoyed Susie's comments on what she as an artist looks for and reacts to while creating her pictures. As the author also paints many things, including pet portra Given the blurb's mentioning Downton Abbey, I thought this mystery would be set in the early 1900's rather than in contemporary times. I like period mysteries, but nonetheless this one held my interest very much. The characters were engaging, though a little under-developed and sort of stereotypical, the dog Situp was cute, and I truly enjoyed Susie's comments on what she as an artist looks for and reacts to while creating her pictures. As the author also paints many things, including pet portraits, I appreciate her communicating these aspects of painting. The mystery kept me guessing, Susie's enthusiasm for sexy lingerie was different (especially from the over-angst that many detectives in fiction today have), and I felt some pity for her being a kind of hanger-on to the rich and their class, which she just misses belonging to. The tone of the mystery needs some adjusting and i expect AC will do so in subsequent books. Sometimes the book seemed a kind of joke (Lord Greengrass? because he has the greens=money? Viscount Cornfield?????) and sometimes a basic, cozy mystery.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maryellie

    I liked the descriptions of Susie's paintings and her interaction with the pets she makes portraits of. However, as a cozy English mystery it certainly wasn't a la Agatha Christie as stated on the back of the book. The mystery was too easy to solve. It's a good book to read on the beach or plane.

  15. 5 out of 5

    maureen collinge

  16. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  17. 5 out of 5

    Supriya Madangarli

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cyber

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chris Collier-Roberts

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Val Roberts

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cathleen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Claire Eden

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carrol Nathanson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Kellison

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mo

  28. 5 out of 5

    Maïlis M.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cathryn

  30. 5 out of 5

    Allitebooks.In

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