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  Crescent Blues Book Views

Three moon gifSt. Martin's Press (Hardback), ISBN 031220311X
Like an old vaudeville act, the sixth Andrew Broom murder mystery, Heirs and Parents opens with a joke:  

"There's a dead body in Overlook Cemetery."

"Where else would you expect to find a dead body?"  

Ba dah boom. 

Book: Ralph McInerny, Heirs and ParentsBut in this case the dead body, rather than resting in peace, sprawls across the front seat of a car parked in the cemetery, her throat cut, blood soaking into her luscious blonde hair. Unlike the rest of the dignitaries and citizens of Wyler, Ind., Andrew Broom, attorney at law, believes this death takes priority over the pomp and circumstances of the town's largest funeral scheduled that morning at the Presbyterian Church.  

The whole community plans to turn out for their benefactor Stanley Waggoner's final appearance. Stanley represented the last direct descendent of the family who brought little Wyler into the 20th century with their automotive manufacturing business. In the wake of Stanley's death, relatives gather to prove their rights to inherit his multi-million dollar estate. 

But back to the body in the cemetery. To the utter amazement of the small town constable, attorney and cemetery workers, they know the victim -- Helga Bjornsen. There must be a reason someone would want to kill sweet, young, beautiful Helga, but none can grasp it. 

Book: Ralph McInerny, Grave UndertakingsAndrew Broom and family find themselves not only tracking down a murderer, but sorting out Stanley's will. Andrew confronts his arch-enemy, Francis X. McGough, the evil attorney in town, as they each represent relatives of the deceased in a battle over the estate.  

The murdered bodies start piling up in Wyler. It takes all the sleuthing skill Andrew can muster to find a connection between the victims. The hunt for the assassin continues to the final pages. Readers may wonder if the murderer will check off everyone on the "To Kill" list. 

Ralph McInerny (also author of the Father Dowling mystery series) tells an interesting tale of family, genealogy, greed and death. He uses dark humor to pick at the human foibles and relationships found in small town Middle America. No grisly descriptions, no lurid details, just small town murder with a large helping of colorful characters. Readers follow a trail of dead bodies that lead to a mysterious murderer, who operates from an even more obscure motive. It takes an astute reader to put a name to the felon before the author unveils him in a unique battle involving a tractor and golf balls.  

Don't ask. 

Ba dah boom. 

Dawn Goldsmith

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