Mark de Castrique. Fatal Undertaking. Scottsdale, AZ: Poisoned Pen Press, 2010.

Barry Clayton learns once again the truth of the old saying “no good deed goes unpunished.”  Barry, the funeral director in the small mountain town of Gainesboro, North Carolina, was reluctant to lend a casket to the local Jaycees for their Halloween haunted house, but the Jaycee president, Archie Donovan, is a persuasive guy, so Barry lent the casket.  But what starts as a story about a haunted house becomes a darker tale in this, the fifth book in the Buryin’ Barry Mystery Series.

Carl Atkinson is no one’s favorite local businessman, but the town is shocked when he is stabbed to death while playing a corpse at the haunted house.  Archie Donovan is convinced that he was the intended victim. Archie has a jealous husband on his tail, but Carl, the murder victim, had his share of enemies too.  Strange things have been happening in the town and county–Christmas tree rustling, a business man with a bag of cash, a shot fired into a local cafe in broad daylight.  Both the mayor and the district attorney see a chance to make political hay by quickly capturing the murderer, and media outlets from all over the country send reporters to cover the ghoulish crime.  Barry’s ex-wife, Susan, is one of those reporters.  Her presence complicates Barry’s attempt to solve the murder (he is a part-time deputy and is put in charge of the case) and ultimately adds poignancy to the novel.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, deCastrique, Mark, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

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