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Fatal Undertaking (Buryin' Barry Mysteries, No. 5) Hardcover – October 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590588010
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590588017
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,150,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Funeral director and part-time sheriff Barry Clayton’s latest case begins when local businessman and Jaycee member Archie Donovan asks to borrow a casket for a Halloween haunted house. The charity event turns into a murder investigation when the Jaycee president is murdered in the casket, and the national press descends upon sleepy Gainesboro, North Carolina. As Barry investigates, readers will learn that North Carolina has a new major cash crop, Christmas trees, and that the workers who tend the trees are sometimes illegal immigrants. The murder victim, son of a local power broker, had plenty of enemies; but he was not the person who was supposed to be the ghost in the casket. Was he murdered by mistake? Complicating matters is the fact that one of the reporters on the scene is Barry’s ex-wife, Rachel. In the fifth in his Undertaking series, de Castrique gives readers a tantalizing mystery full of humor and eccentric characters, along with a nice dollop of current social issues. --Barbara Bibel

Review

STARRED REVIEW
“For readers who enjoy mysteries with a bit more depth, de Castrique offers original plots, strikingly human characters, and a heartwarming portrait of American culture. His writing is to be savored….” –Library Journal on Final Undertaking
 
“De Castrique has married the complexity and fast pace of a police procedural with the folksy setting and lovable characters of a cozy.” Publishers Weekly on Final Undertaking
 
“Strong characters and engaging setting add up to a thoroughly enjoyable yarn.” –Booklist on Final Undertaking


More About the Author

A native of western North Carolina, Mark sets most of his mysteries in Asheville and the surrounding Appalachian mountains. In addition to his Sam Blackman and Barry Clayton series, Mark has written the political thriller, The 13th TARGET, and two Young Adult mysteries: a thriller, A CONSPIRACY OF GENES, set in a children's hospital and an historical "locked-room" murder mystery, DEATH ON A SOUTHERN BREEZE, set on a train traveling from Charlotte to Charleston in the summer of 1860. Mark also has written the play "A DYING BUSINESS." two short stories, TWO OF A KIND, available for the Kindle, and the sci-fi thriller DOUBLE CROSS OF TIME set in 2030 when today's breaking scientific discoveries yield surprising and dangerous consequences.
For a sneak preview or for a tour of Sam Blackman's Asheville or a preview of his latest Sam Blackman mystery, A MURDER IN PASSING, or the D.C. political thriller, The 13th TARGET, check out the video section of his author page.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Craig on October 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this series! Barry Clayton left his job with the police to come home and help with the family funeral parlor when his father was diagnosed with Alzheimers. Now he serves as a part-time deputy and has a partner at the funeral parlor. This is a series with "meat on the bone" - it's a good solid story with characters you come to know and love. You care about how their lives progress and the setting, in the North Carolina mountains, is rich in heritage and personality. Originally there were only four books in this series (one for each of the seasons) but I'm so glad Mark was prompted to add another! I read quickly but I try to take my time with these because I hate to see them end. When space is limited, there are only some books that I save instead of passing on to another reader. Mark de Castrique's books are keepers and can be read and reread without losing any of the wonderful flavor. Always an enjoyable read - let's hope Mark will consider doing more in this series!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In Gainesboro, North Carolina, the Jaycees member Archie Donovan asks funeral director Barry Clayton to donate a coffin for their Halloween fund-raiser for the children wing of the hospital. Barry explains he cannot sell a used coffin, but apparently his girlfriend Dr. Susan Mill supports the idea. He reluctantly agrees if his Uncle Wayne and Fletcher do too.

A month later, Carl Atkinson lies dead in the coffin Barry donated. No motive surfaces as to why someone stabbed Carl to death. Barry, as a deputy sheriff, is assigned the lead. Soon after that, someone tries to kill Archie, which makes Barry wonder who the intended victim was as he has many times since fourth grade wanted to kill Donovan. As he struggles with the homicide case, his former wife Rachel returns to town to cover the story that she believes will launch her TV newscaster career, but alienates her former neighbors.

The latest Buryin' Barry Dangerous Undertaking is a fabulous police procedural starring a lead protagonist struggling between past and present loves as he also makes little progress on the murder mystery. Mark de Mark de Castrique makes a strong case that avarice comes in many ways and not just money as Barry will learn. Fatal Undertaking is a fabulous regional whodunit.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: "You want to borrow a casket?"

Deputy Sheriff Barry Clayton, had been a city police officer but moved back to small North Carolina town in which his family runs a funeral parlor. Working for the sheriff's department and helping with the family business can lead to interesting situations such as loaning a casket to the Jaycees for a Halloween haunted house and having it ending up with containing a murdered body. Complicating Barry's case is the question whether the victim was the one actually intended and having his reporter ex-wife return to town.

It is always a pleasure to read a new book by Mark de Castrique. He brings us into this small North Carolina town, not so much by detailed descriptions of the environs, but by conveying the closeness of the town's citizens but also with the reality of the town's politics and insularity. His dialogue is excellent, including humor--"As he left the diner, I saw the press corps following after him like a gaggle of geese, honking "Sheriff" with every step." and the use of colloquialisms--"In here we're two size-ten shoes in a size-four shoebox."--add contrast to the serious elements of the plot.

The characters are representative of all those you find in any town, but are far from being stereotypical. Sheriff Tommy Lee Wadkins is a man who has seen too much violence and knows you have to have humor, particularly when situations may be serious, to survive. Barry is dedicated to his family, loyal to his friends, but he's not perfect. He makes costly mistakes during the investigation and realizes the impact of them. That makes him more realistic than the usual `perfect' detective.

The story draws you in from its seemingly light beginning but turns quickly to dark with the first murder.
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Format: Paperback
Good,amusing, believable characters....
Cleaver theme for the series plot
Set in the beautiful area in and around the hills surrounding Ashville, NC
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