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Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt [Paperback]

Todd Harra , Ken McKenzie
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1, 2010
When the casket reached the front of the sanctuary, there was a loud cracking sound as the bottom fell out. And with a thump, down came Father Iggy.

From shoot-outs at funerals to dead men screaming and runaway corpses, undertakers have plenty of unusual stories to tell--and a special way of telling them.

In this macabre and moving compilation, funeral directors across the country share their most embarrassing, jaw-dropping, irreverent, and deeply poignant stories about life at death's door. Discover what scares them and what moves them to tears. Learn about rookie mistakes and why death sometimes calls for duct tape.

Enjoy tales of the dearly departed spending eternity naked from the waist down and getting bottled and corked--in a wine bottle. And then meet their families--the weepers, the punchers, the stolidly dignified, and the ones who deliver their dead mother in a pickup truck.

If there's one thing undertakers know, it's that death drives people crazy. These are the best "bodies of work" from America's darkest profession.

"Sick, funny, and brilliant! I love this book." --Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author of They Bite! and Rot & Ruin

"As unpredictable and lively as a bunch of drunks at a New Orleans funeral."--Joe R. Lansdale


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Engaged in a business “that is all customer relations and rapport,” morticians deal with the vulnerable, emotionally unpredictable, and sometimes distraught, and if the dead can’t complain, their families sure can, as these gleanings from mortuary professionals across the nation attest. Whether a survivor insists on putting false teeth in after the deceased’s mouth has been “frozen” shut by embalming or demands a false eye be placed in its rightful socket, it’s all in a day’s work, along with staring down a hostile, 275-pound biker with “toilet seat-size hands.” The chapter “Wives and Girlfriends” demonstrates that “the lies and secrets we maintain in life cannot be perpetuated in death,” for bank accounts will be inspected, and titillating pictures found. The most common postmortem revelation is the illicit sexual relationship, with its potential for funerary fireworks when spouse and children sit on one side of the front row, the paramour on the other. McKenzie and Harra keep us reading because these true mortuary tales are poignant—and suddenly, gaspingly, in-your-face funny. --Whitney Scott

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806531797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806531793
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
(117)
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and moving May 20, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is well worth reading. Not only does it give you a glimpse into the macabre and poignant world of morticians, it has moments that are so absurdly funny that I found myself laughing out loud! But it's not only funny; this book is touching too, as it makes you think.

This is a very easy read; if you are looking for something entertaining and light, yet bizarre and unusual, this book is a great choice.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning about life from death June 4, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is not an expose about practices in the funeral industry. It is instead a collection of remarkable experiences contributed by many funeral directors. It is a book about how to live and enjoy every moment of it. I recommend it highly.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TOTALLY WORTH THE READ! December 24, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this book. Not only was it fun to read, but the stories were short and easy to digest on their own (without having to read the book cover to cover). Harra and McKenzie manage to give us a humorously unexpected looking into the mortuary profession. The authors themselves have added stories of their own in this tantalizing read. I am surprised at some of the negative reviews I've read on this site for the book- I do not work in the profession, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The small amount of background is perfect to give you a flash of the story tellers bearings and enhances the story quality. GREAT BOOK, GREAT READ!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tales from the funeral home October 25, 2011
Format:Paperback
The short stories in Mortuary Confidential were definitely interesting. Some of the stories were humorous and some touching. I'd thought the book was supposed to be hilarious and I wouldn't quite classify it as such, but it was worth reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it. May 27, 2014
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It is nice to know the people who care for us and our loved one at the parting journey of our lives are so nice and dedicated. I loved the book and got a few chuckles out of it. My niece is studying to become a mortician so I am going to send this book on to her and I bet she will love it also. I am not afraid of dying, just of looking bad in the process.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
If you are expecting a goofy, irreverant book based on its title, you will be disappointed. However, it is a funny and poignant look inside the funeral industry. If you are a guidence counselor you might want to have a copy of this book available for those who are thinking to enter 'the dismal trade.' If you are a rising Junior or Senior, and enjoy lobbing grenades at your English or Public Speaking teacher. Read the book and do a report, or work up a chapter to read out loud.

I also recommend "The Dismal Trade."
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just Alright May 25, 2010
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Some of the stories were very touching, and others absurd. The last story about ghosts I DO NOT BELIEVE FOR ONE MOMENT. I have known 3 morticians with a combined experience of over 100 years and NONE of them have ever encountered a ghost or anything close to it---have never seen a body move---or anything out of the ordinary!!!!!

I wished some of the stories were from an older time. I thought there was too much modernity, talk of girlfriends, not wives, and lots of liquor.

The funeral industry sure is changing and this book is representative of that fact. Perhaps read 'Tom Fisher Funeral Director, Chapters in a Life' by Grace Fisher. [...]
, and get a real taste of the funeral business. Or "Nine Years Under" by Sheri Booker which is factual & excellent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a good book! May 18, 2014
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This is a wonderful book. It tells you what goesnpn behind the scene at a funeral and what littlee problems can arise
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