Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Casket Case by Fran Rizer

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Casket Case by Fran Rizer. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Casket Case by Fran Rizer

Casket Case by
A Callie Parish Mystery

Berkley Prime Crime (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-425-22428-7 (0425224287)
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-22428-1 (9780425224281)
Publication Date: October 2008
List Price: $7.99

Review: Callie Parrish investigates the accidental death ... or was it murder? ... of a lifelong friend in Casket Case, the third mystery in this series by Fran Rizer.

When retired pharmacist Melvin Dawkins is found dead, floating face down in the Jacuzzi he had just had built for his young bride, Callie’s brain begins to ponder the possibilities. He was elderly but in good health. Is it a coincidence that he suddenly dies soon after marrying a much younger woman? Coincidentally, another May/December couple are prominently on display in the city. A very wealthy elderly lady is introducing her very young fiancé to one and all. She has put her real estate holdings on the market so she can leave and move to Florida with her paramour to live happily ever after. Trouble arrives when someone wanting to buy a property gets argumentative and insistent that the renter of one of apartments move out that day. The renter is Jane, Callie’s best friend. The malevolent woman is later found dead at the foot of the apartment steps the next morning. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Although Callie is not directly involved with either death, she is chased and run down, nearly killed in her car by a person unknown. When she returns home from the hospital, she finds her rooms in shambles and a cryptic warning written on her mirror. Sure, Callie is a common link to both deaths, but what does she know? Could these incidents all be related?

Callie ("Calamine" to her father) is an engaging amateur sleuth in an unusual profession. She's secretary, receptionist and cosmetologist at Middleton’s Mortuary. But she has an annoying habit of stretching words like "please" into multiple syllables, and her use of Steve Martin-esque "excuse me" seems hopelessly dated. Still, the book is completely void of four-letter words, something many readers will be grateful for and other authors would do well to emulate. (The use of kindergarten swearing, though, is kind of cute.) The story is pleasantly amusing and on the whole, Casket Case is a nice way to while away that long, lazy weekend afternoon.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Casket Case and to Penguin Group for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Synopsis (from the publisher): The town’s beloved pharmacist is found floating facedown in his hot tub. Callie wonders if the kind man died of natural causes or if his seemingly distraught young wife had a hand in his death.

But this is only the first untimely demise to keep the mortuary busy. Next, the hateful real estate agent who’s been pestering Callie’s friend Jane about vacating her apartment winds up with a bashed-in skull at the foot of Jane’s steps.

Callie feels like she’s getting no where in her investigations – but someone else seems to think she knows too much. All signs point to a con game gone dangerously wrong. Now, it’s up to Callie to catch a killer before she winds up being fitted for her own casket.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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