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DEAD BODY LANGUAGE (A Connor Westphal Mystery Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Penny Warner
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When deaf reporter Connor Westphal moves to the California Gold Country town of Flat Skunk to publish her own weekly newspaper, she doesn't expect a murder to be her first headline, But she's discovered a body lying on top of a grave instead of in it. With the help of her hearing-ear dog, Casper, her TTY telephone, and her ability to see what others only hear, Connor investigates the mysterious death, while trying to avoid a cemetery plot herself.

This is book one of an award winning series

Editorial Reviews


Winner of the 1998 Macavity Prize for Best First Mystery!

From the Publisher

Winner of the 1998 Macavity Prize for Best First Mystery!

Product Details

  • File Size: 420 KB
  • Print Length: 298 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00865SOFO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,932 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny, entertaining and accurate January 2, 2000
As a deaf person, I was hesitant to pick up this book because many books written about deaf individuals are inaccurate. However, this book is a very accurate portrayal of a deaf character. Not only that, Conor is a funny, gutsy and likeable character. The book ended much too soon for me and I'm off to buy her other 3 books now!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful to see a deaf woman as the MAIN character July 26, 1999
By A Customer
It was a wonderful surprise to discover Dead Body Language when it first came out, because we finally see a main deaf character. Reading this book, the author really gives the reader a glimpse of what it is like to be deaf. I liked the scene where Connor Westphal was trying to lipread Lacy Penzance. The plot was great and kept me guessing until the very end!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very good books August 30, 2000
well dead body language is a very good book,i must tell you i could not put it down ,the novel was a great stump in the end on who did it,but in the end i love the book about deaf person name connorn, so as a deaf person i always enjoy a good books to read but in the end this book really heart stoping tale of a good mystery books,so now i am reading my fourth book of the series,and i tell you it was little funny and witty humor as well,so i have to thank penny warner for the books that she write i just cannot wait for her next book,thank amazon,com for having this book for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warner's Heroine Not Your Usual Working Stiff July 29, 1997
By A Customer
If the Mystery Writers of America had an award for "Most Unusual," Penny Warner's "Dead Body Language" is a sure-fire candidate. From the very first sentence, Warner's Connor Westphal captivates us with her unique blend of humor, mystique, and just plain weirdness: "I licked the tip of my murder weapon, then hesitantly sipped my mug of coffee as if it were strychnine." Not to worry--Connor's one of the good guys. Her "murder weapon" is a pencil (she's devising a mystery puzzle for her weekly newspaper) and the only thing wrong with her coffee is that it's a poor substitute for her beverage of choice, a Starbuck's mocha.

Connor lives in Flat Skunk, an old gold mining town near Sacramento. The town's inhabitants are engagingly eccentric--the cast of characters includes "Sluice" Jackson (a crazy old prospector), Celeste Camborne (a "grief counselor" for the Memory Kingdom, a local mortuary chain), and Beau Pascal (proprietor of the Mark Twain Slept Here Inn).

The plot of "Dead Body Language" is well-constructed and entertaining. When Lacy Penzance, a prominent citizen of Flat Skunk, turns up dead in the town cemetery, Connor decides to do a little digging around to uncover the truth. Connor's detecting skills are even more impressive when we consider that she is deaf.

All in all, "Dead Body Language" is well-paced and nicely balanced between character development and action. Warner intersperses humorous comments and situations throughout the novel, preventing it from becoming dreary or overly serious. "Dead Body Language" is definitely worth a read!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not great either.... August 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Dead Body Language" by Penny Warner is a unusual read. While I did manage to finish the book and was entertained to some extent, it was not the genre of mystery I like. As a free download, it was worth the price. Don't get me wrong. I think that the premise of a deaf protagonist was what made me download the book in the first place, and I believe there could be a niche for that, but Connor Westphal was a bit too ditsy to pull it off. There were several things that kept bugging me as I read. She owned a weekly newspaper that was mostly managed by her teenager helper. She had a Service Dog for a deaf person that had to have had cast-iron kidneys and no need for food. I couldn't figure out the need for the dog in the storyline since it never traveled with her anywhere. I would have thought it would have been her constant companion. And finally....Connor's brains seemed to turn to tofu when a decent looking male appeared on the scene. The romantic by-play was just plain weird.

Even with all the negatives, I still think there is hope for this series. I know Penny Warner had written other Connor Westphal books. I hope the writing has matured.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a deaf lead character July 13, 2012
By Agarn
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Being deaf myself I've been looking for a book like this for a long time .I was surprised that this was a series so I just bought th 4th book for my Kindle. I would highly recommand this series .Thank you Ms. Warner for recongizing the deaf.I agree that there are formating issues,but it's readable.Also about the dog it bothered me too.I would imagine the writer would claim " artistic license".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new appreciation March 30, 2007
I was assigned to read this book when I was enrolled in a ASL Course. The story is a cute small town murder mystery, it keeps you going with twist and turns until the very end. The main character gave me a new appreciation and understanding about what a deaf person may go through on a daily basis. Above all it made me realize life may be challenging but self pity is the true handicap.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun, interesting read; love the setting too! May 2, 1999
The main character, Connor, is very likeable, even though she gets herself in some pretty amazing situatiions; a very brave young woman! I enjoy the setting; California's Gold Rush country. The mystery, of course, is not solved, until the end and,rightfully,kept me guessing all along! It is a fairly short book that I did not want to end!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story
This is a murder mystery with the central character totally deaf. It explains in great detail the difficulties of the deaf in the hearing world. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Robert A. Hersch
4.0 out of 5 stars Deaf, but not so's you'd notice
My primary interest, in choosing this book, was its deaf main character. Its well written, a good mystery, enough interesting characters, and Connor's deafness is a frequent... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Michael A. Hagstad
4.0 out of 5 stars Our deaf heroine solves who shot whom before the sheriff and finds a...
Our heroine owns and prints out a weekly newspaper. She also writes a weekly mystery puzzle for the paper. She has an admirer in the sheriff's office. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Unknown
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy - light book to read.
I enjoyed the concept of this book. The little tid bits through out to help you solve the mystery. I do enjoy the creative ways that Connor deals with her day. Read more
Published 20 months ago by j d cooper
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique perspective for a mystery series
While the writing or plot wasn't anything exceptional, I'm glad I gave this book a shot. I was intrigued by the idea of a deaf detective, and Ms. Warner did not disappoint. Read more
Published 20 months ago by colormehappy91
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Who dunit
I love Conner, she has spunk. The Gold Country makes a great setting. This is an easy read for ages 9 to 90.
Published 20 months ago by A. Duncan
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and likable main character
The main character, a young deaf woman reporter, helps this stand out from other mysteries. Seeing how she navigates her world was as interesting as the mystery itself. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Chris Eboch
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story with a Fine Twist
Conner Westphal inherits a newspaper and a defunct diner where she make her home in DEAD BODY LANGUAGE by Penny Warner. Read more
Published on October 17, 2012 by Nash Black
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story but the editing was terrible
I am a big fan of other books by this author so I was excited to start reading this series. I thought the mystery was a good one. Lots of twists and turns. Read more
Published on September 17, 2012 by Tina
3.0 out of 5 stars Many characters but not much character development
I picked up this book because it had a deaf person as the main character and was happy to read a review by a deaf person that said that the author did a good job of describing the... Read more
Published on September 11, 2012 by Dina Tanners
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More About the Author

Penny Warner has published over 60 books for both adults and children. Her first mystery series featuring Connor Westphal, a deaf reporter in the California Gold Country, won a Macavity Award for Best First Mystery, and was nominated for an Agatha and an Anthony Award. Books in the series include, DEAD BODY LANGUAGE, SIGN OF FOUL PLAY, and RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. All are available on Kindle.

Her other mystery series features event planner, Presley Parker, and is set in the San Francisco Bay Area. HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, offers a wedding on Alcatraz, HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH, features a Murder Mystery Party at the de Young Museum, HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER SÉANCE, presents a Séance Party at the Winchester Mystery House, and HOW TO PARTY WITH A KILLER VAMPIRE is set in Colma, the City of Souls. HOW TO DINE ON KILLER WINE offers a mystery in the Napa Wine Country.

Her middle-grade mystery, CODE BUSTERS CLUB: SECRET OF THE SKELETON KEY, was nominated for an Agatha Best Juvenile Mystery Award. It features four kids who solve a mystery by cracking codes in each chapter. The second book in the series, CODE BUSTERS: THE HAUNTED LIGHTHOUSE, is set on Alcatraz. (Join the Code Busters Club at Her non-fiction book, THE OFFICIAL NANCY DREW HANDBOOK, was nominated for an Agatha Award.

She writes a column for the local newspaper on family life in the Valley, creates fund-raising murder mystery events for libraries across the country, and teaches child development at Diablo Valley College. She can be reached at or

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