Cover Image: The Clutter Corpse

The Clutter Corpse

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Member Reviews

Simon Brett has created an unusual character in Ellen Curtis.  She is a decluttering expert, and amateur psychiatrist/sleuth.  After the death of her husband, Ellen takes what had been a casual favor for friends, and turns it into a business.  She gets help and referrals from her friends, and one of those referrals takes her into the seamier side of manor house life in the burbs.

Ellen’s struggles with her family’s clinical depressions make the back story of this novel almost as interesting as the main thread.  I look forward to more in this series.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Ellen doe more than unclutter.  She works with clients who are hoarders, which is a much bigger issue.  Here, in what appears to be the first installment of a new series, she finds a corpse under piles in her clients home and then it turns out that she had a connection to the woman- and not a good one either.  Ellen's going to sleuth, of course, and while that part of this is fine, it's how her back story comes out and those of the people she works with that made this a good read.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  it's a slim volume - or short ebook - and a good read.
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The clutter Corpse is a darker novel than usual from Simon Brett but a very promising introduction to the first in a new series of murder mysteries.  
Ellen Curtis runs a decluttering service ‘Space Woman’. As many of her clients have deep rooted issues which are behind the reason for hoarding the items in the first place, her business is often part decluttering part social worker.  She enlists the help of a man with a van a bit of a recluse who is becoming a very good friend, Dodge.  They make a good team.
When Ellen finds a body, she is horrified; more so when she later discovers that they knew each other...
Can Ellen find out what happened to the victim? Can she prove she had nothing to do with the death? Will she be able to show that the police’s suspect is also innocent? If so, who did kill the victim?
As with all of Simon’s books The Clutter Corpse is incredibly well written, very amusing in parts and I cannot wait to read the next book the series.
Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for a Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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The Clutter Corpse is Simon Brett’s latest book and the beginning of a new series.  Ellen Curtis is a declutterer by profession.  She helps people sort out their lives and get rid of those things they no longer need.  As part of her business, she encounters many different kinds of people – from hoarders to ordinary people, who simply need to organize their space. When Ellen encounters a corpse of a previous acquaintance in cluttered flat, she becomes involved in solving the mystery. 

I have mixed feelings about The Clutter Corpse.  On the one hand, I enjoyed the premise of the book.  However, I found some of the characters rather irritating and, in particular, Fleur, Ellen’s mother.  Hilary, who has been one of Ellen’s closest friends for years, is apparently someone that Ellen doesn’t really know at all.  How does that happen?  And, finally, Ellen spends a fair amount of her time counseling and checking in on previous customers.  This activity seems a bit unusual for a declutterer.

This newest book by Simon Brett is also more serious than his other books, lacking some of the humor many of his readers are accustomed to. However, since I enjoy the general premise of The Clutter Corpse and, in general, the various characters, I’m hopeful that the next book will be a bit more compelling.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
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Ellen is the owner of SpaceWoman. A decluttering agency that comes into people's homes and helps them make sense of their mess. While cleaning out a flat she comes across a body. She later realizes she knows the person and fears she is being set up for the crime so she sets off to unravel the mystery of the true killer.

There is a lot of backstory given but it falls into place for the reader to have perspective later in the story. I also didn't seem to have the issues other readers did. The true killer was a true mystery to me.
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A wonderful start to a new mystery series by Simon Brett. The central character is Ellen Curtis, a widow with two grown children who runs her own business called SpaceWoman, which offers decluttering and interior restyling. Her profession allows her access to people's homes and lives. And, of course, bodies. I am looking forward to more books in the series and learning more about Ellen, her children, mental health issues, and the process of decluttering.
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Being a massive fan of Simon Brett's Fethering mysteries, I was hopeful about this new series, particularly when it is set in Chichester.  However, it took me for a rollercoaster ride as my opinion of the book soared and dropped during at various turns.  Although the protagonist is likeable (if a bit naive), I really didn't like a lot of the characters (including her family) and found some of the decluttering situations a bit depressing.  But it really picked up from the middle of the book as we focussed on the murder so, overall, I m looking forward to the next installment.
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Ellen Curtis is the owner of SpaceWoman, a decluttering business specializing in helping hoarders improve their lives and living conditions.  Most of her consultations involve eccentric clients who are unable to separate themselves from their "treasures."  But when Ellen arrives at a home where she is to determine whether it's a suitable residence for a soon-to-be released murderer, she discovers more than enormous amounts of clutter.  Buried among the debris is the body of a young woman, someone whom Ellen had encountered on a previous decluttering case.  

As the story progresses, Ellen finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time more than once, which lands her on the list of prime suspects.  It is up to Ellen to use her natural sleuthing abilities to clear her name by organizing clues and uncovering the real murderer before the killer strikes again.

There are several plausible suspects among the cast of characters, and an ample amount of false leads to make The Clutter Corpse a solid mystery.  In addition, Brett offers rich profiles of Ellen, her family, and her friends, who will likely feature in subsequent books in the series.  That said, I did cringe at some of the descriptions of the clutter.  More importantly for me, however, the author's unflattering depiction of Ellen's stage of life and of class distinctions conveyed an insensitivity that gave me pause and took away from the overall enjoyment of the read.  Hopefully these views will be refined in future installments to support the appeal and potential of the series going forward.
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It took me a long time to get into this book and to connect with the main character, Ellen. It wasn't until near the end when you find out her past and the struggles of her son that I was able to do so. However, I did find the mysteries interesting . I am more than willing to give the next book a try since I ended up enjoying it. 4 stars because it took me so long to get into it. 

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The Clutter Corpse by Simon Brett is an entertaining new book with engaging characters and a strong plot. The pace of the story is a bit slow but that didn't keep me from wanting to read to the  very end.  Ellen is a strong character who behaves realistically and just happens to find herself in embroiled in a murder mystery.  I look forward to reading the next book in this series.
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I love Simon Brett books and this, the first of a new series, is up to his usual high standards. The main character, Ellen Curtiss, is a professional declutter, which makes this an unusual premise. She is, however, so much more than that and genuinely cares about her clients. She is likeable and is all about fair play. As this is the first in the series, much of the book is about setting up the characters and providing back story. However, the storyline is still strong with a plot which engages and encourages the reader to keep reading. I genuinely wanted to find out what would happen. I think the ‘plot twist you won’t see coming’ description is overused but this is genuinely the case in this book. I was stunned. An excellent book, with strong characters and a believable story you will care about. Brett is a master storyteller and this is obvious in every single page of the book.
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I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

Ellen is a declutterer, although the descriptions of her interactions with clients made what she did sound more like social work. She discovers a dead body in a house she has been asked to deal with. Once the identity of the victim is established, Ellen realizes she has met the dead woman before. She starts to investigate because she feels the police will be suspicious of her involvement.

This was not exactly a page turner. Ellen describes her work and several of her clients, Ellen discovers a body, Ellen muses about the time she first met the victim, Ellen describes her marriage to Oliver, Ellen discovers another body. I enjoyed the writing enough to keep reading, but there was little sense of urgency. At one point Ellen turns her car around when (I felt she was) about to do something risky because her son needed her, and I thought "yes, this is how real people behave". However, pages later she went off and nearly got herself killed sadly...
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An easy and quite quick read introducing a new amateur detective - Ellen, who works as a declutterer, and lives with one of her adult children.  Visiting a flat as part of her work she finds a corpse, the victim turns out to be someone she once met and this sets her off on working to discover the murderer.  

Written in the first person this is a pleasant (well - as pleasant as any story dealing with murder can be) undemanding read.  I would certainly read more in the series.  

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy.
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I am assuming (hoping) this is the start of a new series from Simon Brett. I have been a fan of his Fethering series for a while so was intrigued to see a new offering and thrilled at the opportunity to read it. This book was of a similar ilk to the Fethering series, which likeable characters and easy plot line. Definitely recommend.
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Many thanks to Severn House for a copy of The Clutter Corpse in exchange for an honest review.

This is a clever premise for a cozy mystery series. 

The story takes a while to warm up. The corpse doesn't show up until the very end of chapter two. But after that, the mystery unfolds naturally. Given that Ellen is the one who finds the corpse and has a personal link to her, it makes sense that she wants to figure things out.

That's usually one of the hang-ups I have with cozy mysteries: the amateur sleuth seems to have little to do with the deceased and has no business asking questions. But Brett skirts this issue cleverly as he gives Ellen a personal/professional connection with both the murder victim but also with the suspect. After all, she was supposed to be decluttering the suspect's future home with his hoarder mother. And the victim? Let's just say that Ellen's professional encounter with the young woman left a nasty taste in her mouth. Through Ellen's friends, there are multiple other connections, too. 

Ellen won my sympathy immediately. She doesn't simply declutter a home, send a bill, and move on to the next job. In many cases, she continues a relationship with the recovering hoarder because she knows that though they may have too many possessions, they lack one truly necessary thing: a friend.

Queenie, who collects cats, needs Ellen to listen to her endless cat stories. Ashleigh, a young single mom, needs someone to teach her how to do the practical aspects of mothering. Like, say, throwing away dirty nappies or feeding her beloved child on a regular basis. And then hold her accountable for actually doing it. 

Simon Brett obviously knows about the psychology of hoarders and other mentally ill people. His compassion and understanding of those with hoarding disorder impressed me; he never treats the disease lightly, as if the people are objects of ridicule. Ellen herself has something from her past that haunts her. But she's not a dark character. Rather, she's a practical one who knows that though the past might be tragic, living in it robs today of its joys. That, coupled with her insatiable desire to understand other people, makes her press forward in life.  

The tone is less light-hearted than I expected, given the cozy genre. Considering that Brett touches on issues of mental illness, drug abuse, prisons, and death, though, the relatively serious tone makes sense. However, Ellen's wry quips about her life are funny, and there's plenty of comic relief (especially whenever her melodramatic, competitive mother appears). The book is thoroughly enjoyable. 

Plenty of mysterious tidbits about these intriguing characters suggest that Simon Brett will write  future decluttering mysteries. I'd gladly read more about her surly-sweet friend Dodge, her melodramatic mother Fleur, her two grown children, or even some of Ellen's clients. 

Recommended for those who love cozy mysteries! 4 1/2 stars, rounded up to 5.

(My review will be published on my personal blog on May 25, 2020.)
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This is a nearly-cosy mystery with a solid premise and interesting characters.

'SpaceWoman' (her professional name) Ellen is a declutterer who works with regular clients as well as the local council. She deals with hoarders, eccentrics and neglectful parents. And one day she walks into a cluttered flat and finds a dead body among all the hoarding.

The premise 'new amateur sleuth and declutterer' makes this sound like a new exciting idea for a cosy mystery series, but the feel is a little grittier than that genre usually is and the tone is a little less uplifing. That's fine. Every book is its own thing. But I do wonder if it won't meet all reader expectations?

It's solidly written and the plot kept me interested all the way through. However, I did find some plot strands were let go of a bit too easily at the end, and I was left feeling a bit deflated rather than cheered up. 

The worldbuilding was terrific and Ellen's life felt real and full to me. I really felt for her worries about her son. I think I'd read another 'decluttering mystery'. But I'd have to be in the right mood first.
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I had really hoped to like this book, unfortunately it fell flat, and I struggled to get through it.
I always try to read a book a second time, hoping I might get a different perspective. I had a difficult time with the main character, Ellen, I just couldn't connect with her, and I lost my interest very quickly.
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Ellen Curtis lives in Chichester in the UK. Ellen’s job is to help people declutter their living spaces.
Ellen has two grown up children. Ellen is constantly concerned about her son Ben’s well-being while she juggles her home life and working life.
Ellen tries to help her clients understand why they hoard as she helps declutter and clean their houses.
A friend of Ellen’s asks her to help declutter a house of her client, while surveying the extent of the job Ellen discovers a corpse under a pile of clutter and gets involved in trying to help with the murder investigations.
This was a murder mystery about family relationships, friendships, drug dealing and depression.
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The first in a potential new series from Simon Brett introduces the reader to Ellen, a declutterer. The book features the usual Brett lightness of touch, though it may err on the side of too light in plot as the ending is rushed. The difficulty comes I suppose from trying to include as much backstory for Ellen and her family as possible leaving less room for the mystery to develop. That said there is much to intrigue the reader in human relationships and the psychological and emotional twists and turns of life where things may not always be as they seem to an outsider. The book is a basis for what is to come in the series, I hope that Brett doesn't get too formulaic, decluttering, finding a corpse, investigating - could become trite.
Overall an easy read, witty social commentary and a bit of mystery with a satisfying conclusion.

#TheClutterCorpse #NetGalley
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#TheClutterCorpse #NetGalley
I loved the cover of this book. I then read the summary. What a great read! It is a family affair in dealing with murder! A must read for mystery lovers!
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