Waste of a Life
by Simon Brett

Ellen Curtis is about to have her own life thrown into chaos in this third light-hearted decluttering mystery!

Brett layers the old-fashioned puzzle with deep psychological insights . . . Not to be missed” Booklist Starred Review

Declutterer Ellen Curtis has been working to bring order into the life of Cedric Waites, a recluse in his eighties who hasn’t left his house or let anyone inside it since his wife died. On one of her regular visits, Ellen finds the old man dead.

Sad but, given his age, perhaps not unexpected. Nothing to get worked up about . . . until the police raise the suspicion that Cedric might have been poisoned! The cause seems be something he ate, and as Ellen cleared away the old man’s food containers, she is under suspicion. As is Dodge, who works for Ellen and has unhelpfully done a runner . . .

Meanwhile, a rival declutterer is out to sabotage Ellen’s reputable business, her two grown-up children are back home and in crisis, and she has a potential love interest. Ellen’s life has taken on a chaotic turn of its own! Can she uncover the killer and bring order back to her own life?


“Brett layers the old-fashioned puzzle with deep psychological insights . . . Not to be missed”

Booklist Starred Review

“A prolific and sharp-eyed observer of the British middle class’s crimes and misdemeanours”

Kirkus Reviews on The Clutter Corpse

As usual, Brett is brilliant at creating settings that reflect character

Booklist Starred Review of An Untidy Death

“Peppered with wry wit, the story unfurls smoothly and swiftly”

Publishers Weekly on The Killer in the Choir

“The manner of murder is as satisfyingly bizarre and complicated as any Golden Age puzzler … This may just be the best Brett novel yet”

Booklist Starred Review of The Liar in the Library

“Brett is brilliant at showing how throwaway comments and casual snubs intensify cruelty to outsiders. This is an especially incisive Fethering adventure, with a shocker of an ending”

Booklist Starred Review of Guilt at the Garage

“An edgy cozy, filled with dry wit and deft plot twists”

Booklist on Death and the Decorator

Simon Brett

Simon Brett worked as a producer in radio and television before taking up writing full-time. He was awarded an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours for services to Literature and also was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2014 he won the CWA’s prestigious Diamond Dagger for an outstanding body of work.

View author page


Waste of a Life by Simon Brett is available in the following formats

Hardback97807278506906th December 2022145 X 225mm192$29.99
Hardback97807278506906th December 2022145 X 225mm192£20.99
Ebook97814483079206th December 2022N/A192$14.99
Ebook97814483079206th December 2022N/A192£12.99
Hardback - Large Print978144831220728th November 2023145 X 222mm272$38.99
Hardback - Large Print978144831220712th October 2023145 X 222mm272£23.99
Paperback978144830793726th September 2023140 X 220mm192$18.99
Paperback978144830793727th July 2023140 X 220mm192£13.99
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