MYSTERY

A Risky Undertaking: A Buryin' Barry Mystery

Poisoned Pen. Nov. 2014. 258p. ISBN 9781464203060. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464203084. $14.95. M
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In his sixth outing (after A Fatal Undertaking) ex-cop Barry Clayton, now a part-time deputy and a partner in his family's North Carolina funeral parlor, is up to his neck in trouble. He's investigating a case that pits modern casinos against Native American traditions. Cherokee artifacts are found during the expansion of a local cemetery and Cherokee activist Jimmy Panther leads a protest during the funeral of a prominent local citizen. When Jimmy is murdered, suspicions fall on the deceased's family. Further investigation reveals that Jimmy's activities threatened the development of a casino on tribal lands.
VERDICT De Castrique's latest mystery continues the irreverent wit and independent spirit that has marked the series thus far. The focus on the beautiful setting of western North Carolina and its Cherokee traditions is well crafted. While there are a number of other series featuring sleuthing funeral directors, this is a complex and well-executed police procedural as well.

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