Deader Homes and Gardens

A Claire Malloy Mystery

Claire Malloy Mysteries

Joan Hess

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Deader Homes and Gardens

Joan Hess

Now that she’s back from her honeymoon, Claire Malloy must face the reality of her home life: It’s too close for comfort. A two-bedroom apartment is a formula for disaster for her new husband, Police Chief Peter Rosen, and her teenage daughter, Caron. Time to go house hunting—before they all kill each other. Figuratively speaking, of course...

Or not. Ever since Claire found the perfect home—a well-preserved large house on a large plot of land in Hollow Valley—she has been up to the roof with problems. Not only has the real estate agent gone mysteriously missing but soon Claire learns that the house’s previous owner died in circumstances labeled “accidental.” And new bodies from Hollow Valley are starting to pile up…Now it’s up to Claire to dig up the dirt—and unearth a killer. Can she solve the mystery before her dream house turns into a living nightmare? 


Read an Excerpt

“A house, a house, my kingdom for a house,” I muttered as I crammed a pair of dirty jeans and several shirts under the bed. The bedroom floor still resembled an archipelago of discarded clothes. The hamper was draped with smelly socks and unmentionables. I tripped on a size-twelve sneaker, paused in midair to wonder if I could stuff it down the garbage disposal (had the garbage disposal worked, which it hadn’t in a decade), and stumbled into the bookcase. Paperbacks felleth like the gentle rain upon the place beneath.
The bathroom looked as though it


Praise for Deader Homes and Gardens


“Well-paced suspense spiced with wry wit.”—Boston Sunday Herald on Closely Akin to Murder

“Clever…irreverent murder and mayhem.”—Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate on Closely Akin to Murder

“Wickedly amusing.”—Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine on Busy Bodies

“Intriguing…an amusing look at the universal human comedy.”—Fort Smith Times Record

“If you’ve never spent time with Claire and her crew, I feel sorry for you. Stop reading this nonsense and hop to it. You’ll see wit and humanity all wrapped up in a nifty murder mystery.”
—Harlan Coben

“Delightful…worthy of Hercule Poirot in the classic Death on the Nile.”—Publishers Weekly on Mummy Dearest

“A good substitute for a trip to Egypt.”—Deadly Pleasures on Mummy Dearest

“Hess fans will find much to entertain them...”—Publishers Weekly on Damsels in Distress

“Lively, sharp, irreverent.”—The New York Times Book Review on Poisoned Pins

“Larcenous shenanigans…breezy throughout.”—Chicago Tribune on Poisoned Pins

“With her wry asides, Claire makes a most engaging narrator. The author deftly juggles the various plot strands…the surprising denouement comes off with éclat.”—Publishers Weekly on Out on a Limb

“A winning blend of soft-core feminism, trendy subplots, and a completely irreverent style that characterizes both the series and the sleuth.”—Houston Chronicle

“A wildly entertaining series.”—Mystery Scene

“Joan Hess is one of the best mystery writers in the world. She makes it look so easy that few readers and fewer critics realize what a rare talent hers is.”—Elizabeth Peters, author of Tomb of the Golden Bird

“Joan Hess is seriously funny. Moreover, she is seriously kind as well as clever when depicting the follies, foibles, and fantasies of our lives. Viva Joan!”—Carolyn Hart, author of Dead Days of Summer

“Fresh and funny…her trademark humor is stamped on every page.”—Publishers Weekly, on The Goodbye Body

“Breezy and delightful…Claire Malloy is one of the most engaging narrators in mystery.”—The Drood Review

“Hess is one very funny woman.”—Susan Dunlap, former president of Sisters in Crime

“Amiable entertainment with an edge.”—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Joan Hess

  • JOAN HESS is the author of both the Claire Malloy and the Maggody mystery series. She is a winner of the American Mystery Award, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

  • Joan Hess Photo: Charles E. Roberts


Available Formats and Book Details

Deader Homes and Gardens

A Claire Malloy Mystery

Claire Malloy Mysteries

Joan Hess



St. Martin's Paperbacks