BookBrowse Reviews The Poet's Funeral by John M. Daniel

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The Poet's Funeral

by John M. Daniel

The Poet's Funeral by John M. Daniel X
The Poet's Funeral by John M. Daniel
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  • First Published:
    May 2005, 257 pages

    Paperback:
    Oct 2006, 257 pages

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A delicious sendup of the book trade!

From the book jacket: At the annual convention of the American Booksellers Association everything goes wrong. Julia Child's cooking demonstration in the Random House aisle blows up and catches fire. A top New York editor catches a pie in the face. Invitations to the most exclusive publisher's party are stolen and all the wrong people show up. Worse, Heidi Yamada, the world-famous poet, is found dead, spread over the late Elvis Presley's king-sized bed....

Comment: John Daniel sets his first "Guy Mallon" mystery at the real-life 1990 American Booksellers Association (ABA) convention in Las Vegas.  His protagonist, Guy, is a book collector (Post-World War II Poets of the American West), a bookseller, and a small-press publisher. He also has a nose for mystery - a nose that senses that all is not above board when the manipulative poet, Heidi Yamada is found dead from what the police conclude is an accidental overdose.

Before her death Heidi was feted by all and sundry, but barely has the corpse been tidied up than the backstabbing begins, cumulating in the eulogies given by her publishing nearest and dearest, who reveal the real Heidi - and in the process both provide essential clues for Guy, and add themselves to his ever lengthening suspect list.

This delightfully sharp and sardonic send up of the book trade is a shoe-in for bibliophiles who are also aficionados of cozy mysteries.  

John M. Daniel
is a small-press literary book publisher in McKinleyville, California. He has taught fiction writing at UCLA Extension and Santa Barbara Adult Education and is on the faculty of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, and he is the author of several books, including Play Melancholy Baby and Generous Helpings, a story collection.

Poisoned Pen Press published the second of his Guy Mallon mysteries, Vanity Fire, last month.  He is currently at work on a third, Behind the Redwood Curtain.

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in July 2005, and has been updated for the December 2006 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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