Books by John M. Daniel

The Poet’s Funeral
A Mystery Novel
Poisoned Pen Press
ISBN 1-59058-144-X
Hardback, $24.95

ISBN 1-590588-315-9
Trade Paperback, $14.95

Buy or order
The Poet's Funeral from your local bookstore, from one of the online booksellers,
or direct from the publisher:
Poisoned Pen Press or call (800) 421-3976

This book is also available in ebook format:
Kindle edition:

At the annual convention of the American Booksellers Association Convention, 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. It's all caught on film by a busy photographer from Publishers Weekly, a woman soon kidnapped. When the Las Vegas Police shrug their shoulders, Guy Mallon, Heidi's first publisher (and a discarded lover) wonders what to do.

Poor Guy. He's a bookman from Santa Barbara who, despite Ross Macdonald and Sue Grafton, never felt inspired to be a sleuth, but he feels he owes it to Heidi. Besides, catching her killer may be his only chance to leave Las Vegas alive.... The Poet's Funeral is a romp rich with poetry, publishing, book collecting, and literary gossip. Its cast ranges from smalltime players to the famous Rock Bottom Remainders. It's a story of ego, love, art, and murder during four hot days at the 1990 ABA.

Review Quotes
For full text of the reviews, click here

“Daniel (Play Melancholy Baby) turns the 1990 Las Vegas ABA convention (now known as BEA) into a murder site in this delicious sendup of the book trade.… Daniel's sharp, sardonic wit and insider's view of book industry foibles are sure to make this bibliomystery a hit.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The narrator, wry small-press publisher Guy Mallon, begins with theobituary of media-hound poet Heidi Yamada, who's died of a drug overdose in Las Vegas while attending the 1990 American Booksellers Association convention.… Nonstop wisecracks and an amiable tweaking of the publishing world add up to a highly entertaining debut, mystery aside—which, for the most part, it is.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Daniel ladles plenty of tasty publishing tidbits into his narrative stew but never at the expense of the suspenseful plot. An affectionate look at the publishing industry from one who clearly knows that world.”

“To paraphrase W.C. Fields' favorite irreverence, 'Godfrey Daniel, this boy is good!' The Daniel here is John M., who knows how to take the shenanigans of a book convention and turn one of those basically dreary (and often depressing) occasions into a bright, funny, brain-twisting mystery.”
—Dick Adler, The Chicago Tribune

“This is a very readable novel with a sendup of the publishing industry, told fast and loose by an appealing narrator. Dead poets never had so much fun.”
—Hallie Ephron, The Boston Globe

“This is a deliciously wicked look at the book world by an industry insider....It's murder, of course, and Guy makes for a good amateur sleuth. But the real fun lies in the author's irreverent, wisecracking look at the world of books and, more important, the imperfect people who work together—more or less—to produce them.”
Denver Post

“This mystery unfolds like the first light of dawn spreading across the Nevada desert.… The author's smart wordplay enhances this book beyond the run-of-the-mill 'hard-boiled' detective mystery.… Daniel's use of dialogue among thevarious characters is also masterful, especially when he relates the blistering repartee between Heidi and several VIPs at the convention.… Extremely knowledgeable of the book publishing field, Daniel intersperses tidbits from that industry throughout the book.… Anyone who loves good mystery stories, the publishing industry, or the backdrop of Las Vegas will definitely want to attend this Poet's Funeral.”

“The story line is amusing and contains several cameos from the famous and though the death occurs toward the middle, the inquiries are handled deftly so that the audience obtains a solid mystery. The big Guy and his woman are a dynamic duo and the support cast enables the reader to obtain a deep look at what happens at an ABA convention. The Poet’s Funeral is a unique super tale.”
—Harriet Klausner, Midwest Book Review

“For anyone connected to the publishing industry, those who wish to be, and those who just enjoy a fun and unique mystery, this book is a must. Not only does it provide some scintillating information about the publishing world, but also creates a vivid mental movie to go along with the dialog. By the end, you'll feel like you've been a bystander at the ABA convention and you'll be ready to pack your bags and visit it again.”
—Sarah Lomas,

“Guy Mallon may be diminutive in size, but he is a very smart man.… When Heidi is found dead at a private party, the police seem to want to treat it as an accident. Guy gets involved in the investigation, and also gets involved, against his and Carol’s will, with a photographer who flaunts her Publisher’s Weekly business card. Guy solves the murder, and gives a good insight into the world of publishing as seen by a small press owner.… Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for discovering this gem.”
—Maggie Mason, Deadly Pleasures

“John Daniel is a publisher (good stuff too) so his portrayal of the madhouse of booksellers all gathered in (oh lord) Las Vegas in 1990 is informed by someone who's been there. Poor guy. But he offers such a funny, jaundiced, goofy look at the week-long chaos that it's way fun.”
—Andi Shechter, Reviewing the Evidence

“This is a very cleverly written story with a plot that winds and wriggles through the world of publishing, name dropping all the way. A fun read.”
—Mary Ann Smythe, BookLoons

The Poet's Funeral is great fun…. I'll be looking for more from John M. Daniel.”

“You will recognize, by name or characteristic, many Santa Barbara events, places, people associated with literature and even local literary myths and stories; part of the pleasure Mr. Daniel provides is comfortably skating the interface between reality and fiction and having a great deal of fun in each realm.

Guy Mallon, in his eulogy to Heidi Yamada, notes that 'Happy is the man who has found his work.' John Daniel, publisher and writer, should be doubly happy.”
—Lin Rolens, Santa Barbara News-Press

“It's a good summer read, light enough to take to the beach or a hammock and
funny enough to laugh out loud at, especially if you have anything to do
with the book trade....Woody Allen would be proud of him.”

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