Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fatal Undertaking-Mark de Castrique

Fatal Undertaking
Mark de Castrique
Poisoned Pen, Oct 1 2010, $24.95
ISBN: 9781590588017

In Gainesboro, North Carolina, the Jaycees member Archie Donovan asks funeral director Barry Clayton to donate a coffin for their Halloween fund-raiser for the children wing of the hospital. Barry explains he cannot sell a used coffin, but apparently his girlfriend Dr. Susan Mill supports the idea. He reluctantly agrees if his Uncle Wayne and Fletcher do too.

A month later, Carl Atkinson lies dead in the coffin Barry donated. No motive surfaces as to why someone stabbed Carl to death. Barry, as a deputy sheriff, is assigned the lead. Soon after that, someone tries to kill Archie, which makes Barry wonder who the intended victim was as he has many times since fourth grade wanted to kill Donovan. As he struggles with the homicide case, his former wife Rachel returns to town to cover the story that she believes will launch her TV newscaster career, but alienates her former neighbors.

The latest Buryin' Barry Dangerous Undertaking is a fabulous police procedural starring a lead protagonist struggling between past and present loves as he also makes little progress on the murder mystery. Mark de Mark de Castrique makes a strong case that avarice comes in many ways and not just money as Barry will learn. Fatal Undertaking is a fabulous regional whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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