Monday, June 8, 2020

The Clutter Corpse - Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Clutter Corpse by Simon Brett

Rating: Just Okay

Source: NetGalley

Description: Ellen Curtis runs her own business helping people who are running out of space. As a declutterer, she is used to encountering all sorts of weird and wonderful objects in the course of her work. What she has never before encountered is a dead body.

When Ellen stumbles across the body of a young woman in an over-cluttered flat, suspicion immediately falls on the deceased homeowner's son, who has recently absconded from prison. No doubt Nate Ogden is guilty of many things – but is he really the killer? Discovering a link between the victim and her own past, Ellen sets out to uncover the truth. But where has her best friend disappeared to? And is Ellen really prepared for the shocking revelations to follow?

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  I had read a book by this author in another series and enjoyed it 

My Impression:   I had picked up another book by this author and enjoyed it.  It was kind of fun and quirky and an interesting mystery.  I think I was expecting a similar feel in this book just with a different setup and characters and that definitely didn't happen.  I had issues with this book so for clarity I'm going to go to list form.

1.  The writing style was more telling then showing.  The reader isn't going along with Ellen as she finds a body and investigates instead we are being told what she did and what she thought which for me minimized my connection to the story.

2.  This was grim.  Ellen isn't decluttering overcrowded guest rooms and disorganized offices.  She's involved with some serious hoarding situations and seems to work with a lot of public housing offices so these are frequently people in pretty dire situations.  She also does follow up appointments (without pay it seems) and the situations just seem to get sadder and sadder.  As well, Ellen has a pretty intense backstory that deals with severe clinical depression, suicide, and suicide attempts of loved ones.  While it was handled sympathetically it felt like it took up a large chunk of the book and that paired with the mystery plot and the hoarding situations made this a pretty depressing read.

3.  The mystery itself.  I loved the basic premise of this mystery - dead body found in a jammed full room in a hoarder's house.  Who was she, why was she there, and who killed her.  I'm on board for all these questions.  However, the pacing on the mystery was a bit weird.  The discovery of the body took maybe two sentences where whole chapters were devoted to non-mystery related material.  As well Ellen seemed to fluctuate between being disconnected and overly involved.  There are a few times where she falls into TSTL behavior and there is a pretty sizable coincidence needed to help solve the case.  

Overall, this wasn't a great read for me.  I did like Ellen and her son Ben.  I found the concept interesting and while I didn't love the writing style it did read pretty fast.  Maybe in another mood I wouldn't have minded the very grim tone of the book but for now it was a book that left me feeling low with an unsatisfying mystery.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Not in this series but I might try another book in the earlier series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Not really.  It had some okay points but I felt like for the most part it just missed the mark.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. Sometimes in hard times we really discern what we like in reading and what we don't. Too many books to read so good you are noting that about this series.

  2. Ah what a pity this didn't work out as well as you hoped. Still, a five star read could be right around the corner!