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Hearse of a Different Color Hardcover – February 7, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
Book 2 of 5 in the Hitchcock Sewell Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Tim Cockey's debut novel, The Hearse You Came In On, introduced readers to Hitchcock Sewell, the undertaker-turned-reluctant-sleuth, whose mordant irony and blissfully skewed perspective on the humdrum brought a remarkable vigor to a profession not usually known for its liveliness. The good news for Hitch fans is that Cockey's follow-up effort dishes up another heaping helping of sardonic wit:
The planet was one big marble of wretchedness. And I wasn't exactly being lifted aloft by bluebirds either. I was wheeling down the Baltimore- Washington Parkway in my unexciting car on the fourth record-breaking freezing cold day in a row, tuning in to what seemed to be the preexisting fact that I was going to be tracking down a cold-blooded murderer.
Said murderer has deposited a corpse on Hitch's doorstep--in the middle of a wake, no less. The unscheduled body is one Helen Waggoner, a single mother with a double life as a waitress and porn star. Hitch's girlfriend sees the unceremonious delivery as a scoop in the making. Bonnie Nash is a less-than- accurate TV weather woman who's got a bad case of occupational shame ("I'm a pair of breasts that tells you what the weather is going to be tomorrow. Maybe."). She figures that solving a murder ought to earn her a network promotion. But it's not that easy. When Helen's sister also turns to Hitch for some moral and investigative support, the undertaker finds himself digging through the family closets and unearthing some distinctly unsavory skeletons. It turns out that a taste for the (ahem) silver screen is a Waggoner tradition, and that the sisters have a long--and not particularly affectionate--history. It's up to Hitch to put the pieces of the puzzle together before a hired killer with a peculiar signature takes him apart.

Cockey has a rare gift for sending up the hallowed conventions of mystery fiction with effortlessly wry turns of phrases: "I looked about to assess the scene. I'm six-three, so I have a decent vantage point for assessing." His plot skills have sharpened since his last outing, and the narrative moves along briskly to a conclusion both tidy and ironic. Appropriately enough, though, in this Hearse, the ride is even more fun than the destination. --Kelly Flynn

From Publishers Weekly

HWisecracking undertaker and amateur sleuth Hitchcock Sewell makes a welcome return in this second in Cockey's highly entertaining and well-written series. When the murdered corpse of Helen Waggoner is dumped on the front steps of Baltimore's Sewell & Sons Family Funeral Home, which Hitch runs with his Aunt Billie, it's especially perturbing because a wake is in progress. Hitch's new girlfriend, Bonnie Nash, an inept television weathergirl, convinces Hitch to help her make a career move to investigative reporter by finding out who killed Helen. Naturally, complications arise. Helen's young son, Bo, goes to live with her estranged sister, Vicki, who is being harassed by the boy's jailbird father. The search into Helen's background leads Hitch and Bonnie into the Baltimore netherworld of strip joints, prostitution and pornography. When an up-and-coming lawyer and the owner of a strip joint are murdered in a similar style, the investigation expands. The lawyer represented Dr. Richard Kingman, whose wake Helen's body interrupted, and Hitch discovers a connection between Helen and the Kingman family. As with Cockey's first Hitch Sewell mystery, The Hearse You Came In On (2000), the plot is circuitous, with Hitch and Bonnie making many incorrect assumptions as they work their way through this thoroughly enjoyable novel. (Feb. 7) Forecast: Cockey's colorful Baltimore settings should attract readers who enjoy Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series, while his breezy, casual tone, hilarious situations, very quirky, sharply drawn characters and neighborhoods will appeal to fans of Janet Evanovich. Cockey has a more serious side too, offering insightful commentary on family relationships and sibling rivalry, All this adds up to a book that's a natural for handselling, with readers' awareness cultivated via a six-city author tour and teaser chapters in the mass market edition of The Hearse You Came In On, due out on Feb. 1.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Series: Hitchcock Sewell Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; 1st edition (February 7, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786865717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786865710
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,450,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The second novel in Tim Cockey's series featuring amateur sleuth/undertaker Hitchcock Sewell is another delightful romp. Hitch finds himself at the center of another case of murder (well, the corpse sort of turns up on his doorstep) and must wade through the not-so-usual assortment of suspects, shady characters and femme fatales.
Cockey's wry wit, excellent dialogue and engaging characters are one again in evidence in this higly recommended novel!
Here's hoping that Hitch has a very long life.
Once again, Tim, kudos!
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Format: Hardcover
The blizzard that hit Baltimore without warning made the wake at Sewell & Sons Family Funeral Home difficult enough for managers Hitchcock Sewell and his Aunt Billie. The corpse unceremoniously dumped on the outside steps of the funeral home becomes even more arduous to deal with because Hitch allows his girlfriend Bonnie Nash to persuade him to help her investigate. Bonnie insists that she is an investigative reporter hiding inside the guise of a TV weathergirl, which her peers loosely interpret as an amateur meteorologist who would have been better suited at rock singing.

Hitch and Bonnie begin to conduct inquiries, which as with their first case (see THE HEARSE YOU CAME IN) proves that in their minds the shortest distance between two clues is an arc. The duo draws wrong conclusions, fumbles clues, and makes error after error that should star them on a version of Bloopers. Other murders follow that expand an already widening circular investigation making it seem most unlikely that this amateur duet will ever solve the case.

The second Hitch-Nash amateur sleuth tale, HEARSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR, is an amusing novel due to the eccentric lead couple and his even more outlandish family members. The investigators seem to always land in weird, humorous situations that bring to life Baltimore's neighborhoods. Surprisingly, Tim Cockey provides an underlying theme involving dysfunctional relationships that keeps the novel from spinning into Pythonesque territory yet never overwhelms the drollery of a top notch tale.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hitchcock (Hitch) Sewell, Baltimore's most eligible undertaker and murder mystery mortician, is back for another totally enjoyable adventure. This time around, someone has left a potential client (body) on the front steps of Sewell and Sons Family Funeral Home in the middle of a wake for a prestigious heart surgeon and a pre-Christmas snowstorm.
In case you missed the first book in this series (The Hearse You Came In On), there are no sons at Sewell and Sons, just Hitch and his Aunt Billie. And the body on the doorstep is that of an ordinary (though formerly beautiful) waitress from a low-end airport pickup bar and grill. Since the police are involved with a series of "shot in the foot" murders, Hitch (being Hitch) decides he will find out who killed the women, especially after he meets her sister.
As you'll discover, there is this mutual attraction between Hitch and women. In this book alone, there's his ex-wife Julia; Bonnie, his weather-girl girlfriend; Vickie, the victim's sister; clients' widows plus a few B-girls and strippers thrown in for good measure. In all, it's a totally enjoyable mix.
Anyway, the plot really starts getting complicated and it becomes more than a case of who killed the waitress and why. And just when you think you've got the whole thing figured out Cockey throws you another twist. In other words, you'll love this one. Now I've just got one more book in the series to read before the new one (fourth) is published in February.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tim Cockey writes gently amusing mysteries--not laugh out loud, make-your-sides-ache hilarious, but good-natured prose that makes you smile now and then. This second book in what I hope will be a long series, is as amiable as the first, wonderfully well-plotted, with good characters--particularly ex-wife Julia who's a uniquely believable creation.
Poor old Hitch can't resist the ladies, but, mercifully, the author is reserved in his renderings of Hitch's dalliances and doesn't subject the reader to a lot of tiresome descriptions of meshing body parts. He focuses instead on personality (the weathergirl Bonnie in this volume is especially well done, as is Hitch's Aunt Billie) and on attraction predicated on character rather than on pure sex appeal. In itself, this is refreshing. Combined with a true talent for quirky plotlines, the Hearse series is entertaining and, even better, satisfying. It is delightful to read a mystery where everyone is suspect, and it's impossible to predict who "did" it.
Most highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To be honest, I can't say I was that "into" this, the second of Cockey's Hitchcock Sewell mysteries. I thought the first book "The Hearse You Came In On" was fresh, witty, fast and fun. Now, to a certain degree, the bloom is off the rose. I didn't really care who killed Helen, the dead waitress Sewell finds on his doorstep, nor was I particularly interested in her gorgeous sister and sleazy ex-boyfriend. But everytime I was bored enough to put this book down, Cockey would pull me back in with some of the funniest dialogue I've read in years. In fact, the humour in "Hearse of a Different Color" is its blessing, even it is is a bit arch at times (just like Hitch's girlfriend accuses him of being).
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