The relative merits of my weapon of choice all became a little academic when my phone began to play the Mexican Hat Dance. I rummaged in my pocket, wishing I was better at technology so that I could change the ringtone or at least mute the damn thing. It’s hardly appropriate for a Specialist Funeral Director to have such a chirpy tune ringing out across a graveyard. I pulled the phone out and stabbed randomly at the buttons, trying to silence the thing. It was then I realized that in doing so, I had inadvertently stood up, revealing myself to the dead head.
“Hello?” Detective Inspector savage’s voice sounded incredibly loud. Somehow, I’d managed to put him on speakerphone. “Are you there, Coffin?”
The dead guy spun round. He looked fast for someone who had died a few weeks ago and just finished the impossible journey from six feet under the soil to the surface. He also looked like every one of the days of those weeks had taken its toll on him. His face was bloated and grey, the skin splitting around his forehead to reveal white bone and a lining of something creamy. He gave a low growl from his black lips which gave me a lovely view of his yellowed, uneven teeth.
“Hi, Savage, can I ring you back? It’s not a good time right now.”
Savage was one of those people who never took the hint. “It won’t take a minute, Coffin. We’ve had a report of an open grave in a place called Hampton Green…”
“I’m dealing with a lich, right now, Savage, I can’t really…” I didn’t finish the sentence. The dead guy launched himself forward and rammed his shoulder into my gut, grabbing me round the waist and forcing me backwards onto the ground. (ch. 1)
Blood, Bone and Coffin is a prequel to Demons. It is a novella about the Specialist Funeral Director whose job it is to lay the undead to rest. Sometimes the police give him work to do. Usually, they do not call him at such an inconvenient time as the one in the quote. Or perhaps Coffin learns how to silence his cell-phone.
What begins with the request to lay a zombie to rest, ends up being a search for the killer of residents at the Twilight Grove Nursing Home in Hampton Green, England.
BB&C is a fun little paranormal whodunit with odd people all over the place. Recommended.
The Monday before Thanksgiving, my car disappeared. Or it might have been late Sunday night. The day was half over before I even looked outside. Instead I focused on an ugly painting until I realized I was hungry. I was out of bread and low on groceries in general. I cleaned my brushes, grabbed my keys, opened the front door, and stared at gray asphalt where my Mazda used to be. A few dead cottonwood leaves swirled there before the wind swept them off.
I didn’t bother calling the police. My car hadn’t been stolen, it had been repossessed.
Anthony has had a rough time during the year after his gift/curse emerged. All it takes is thirty seconds within a ten-foot circumference of him and people cannot help telling him their secrets. Just going to the store is a challenge. And the things he hears. “My wife left me this morning.”, “And then their dad comes home and he needs dinner and he wants sex.”, “I knew it was you and I don’t want to talk to you, but it looked bad.” and “So how did a totally hot man get a gift like that?“. Some of the secrets are much worse than this, and they are part of the trouble Anthony is in and is going to land himself in.
I liked the way J.J. Lyon looked at Anthony’s talent. One of my talents is having no filter on what I hear. Concentrating on my conversation while others are going on around me is extraordinarily difficult. I usually end up commenting on other conversations, or my companions tell me to stop listening in. Sadly, there isn’t an off-button on my talent. That can make talking to me annoying. I just upped my difficulty to the nth degree and probably arrived at Tony’s challenges. So, I truly get why he has made himself a hermit, does not want to visit his family and avoids any close contact with other people if he is able to. However, doing so has gotten him as close to bankrupt as a person could get.
He needs to come up with some way of getting hold of money and using his gift for other things than hitting on girls. His older brother Bart comes up with what he considers a really smart scheme. Why doesn’t Anthony become a PI? Yes, a PI. At first Tony is reluctant. But once he realizes what is really going on, his’s involvement becomes truer.
Deadly Magic transported me to the days of Tuppence and Tommy. A modern technology version of the two, yet leaving me with the sense of a bygone era. I had fun with Grace and …, their meeting and the mystery (death) that brought them together.
Who dun’ its seem to have vanished from my reading habits. Goodness knows why. Perhaps I haven’t felt the need. Reading Deadly Magic prodded that desire in me.
Corpses kept on turning up. First there was Lily. Usually the first person to be killed is the main target. Deadly Magic kept to the script of the traditional mystery style. There was no real magic involved. Just magicians with their illusions. Grace was just a regular office worker with a harsh boss.
In some ways I used to be like Grace. Perhaps my autism makes me believe just about anything people tell me. Some people probably find that convenient while others get annoyed. My sense of fair play would have made remaining an employee of Straker extremely difficult. But I have worked with people who remained in such situations for one reason or another. Grace accepts Straker’s comments and behavior to a certain point. Once he crossed that line, she spoke up without being rude. I wish I could do that.
The other characters support Grace, so we only get glimpses of some of their traits. One of them doesn’t mind breaking all societal rules. Like a lot of literary crooks, this person’s compatriot has a talent for rationalization.
Elisabeth Crabtree’s style completely fooled me in one regard. For some reason I was convinced we were in London when in fact we were in New York. Perhaps that had to do with the way most of the story happened in three buildings, rather than outside. One was the old office building. The second was the deadly theater and the third was Grace’s apartment.
Grace is asked to investigate the death by her boss. She discovers that he has asked most of his employees to do the same. But Grace feels that something is off with the apparent suicide and decides to take her investigations seriously. Looking into murder without the authority of the police behind you can be a dangerous venture. Perhaps betrayal lurks. Grace seems blissfully uncaring about the dangers involved. There are people like that out there. I know several of them. Nuts the whole bunch, but fun to be around.
If you want to read something lighthearted and fun with a little suspense, this might well be the book for you.