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The Face in the Bessledorf Funeral Parlor Hardcover – September 30, 1993


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum; 1st ed edition (September 30, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689318022
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689318023
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,674,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7-This fourth book about events at the Bessledorf Hotel is, for its somewhat macabre premise, pleasantly daffy. The Magruder family runs the hotel, the only one in Middleburg, Indiana; it is around Bernie, the next-to-youngest child, that the story revolves. This time, he and his detective friends Georgene and Weasel are trying to solve a mystery involving a theft from the Higgins Roofing Company, coupled with its missing vice-president. This hot news literally overshadows the controversial opening of the drive-in window at the Bessledorf Funeral Parlor next door to the hotel. The basic plot plus myriad subplots involving the Magruder family members and pets, hotel guests, and other townspeople keep young readers alert and older curmudgeons forgiving of terminally goofy names, some marginal humor (having the characters pose as homeless children is not funny), and mild morals. One of the best images is the three children walking side by side up the driveway to the funeral home, collectively tripping the electric eye that parts the curtains and displays the body. Many kids will find it hilarious.
John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. Bernie Magruder, his eccentric family, and his friends Georgene and Weasel are dumbfounded when the Bessledorf Funeral Parlor is remodeled and has a grand reopening to show off the results--a drive-up viewing window to accommodate mourners who are in a hurry. But they're even more surprised when the vice president of the local roofing company disappears and so does the company's retirement fund. Is it foul play? Who is the strange man wandering around on the funeral home roof in the middle of the night? What does a chuck roast have to do with it? Is Officer Feeney right when he says the Magruders could have a robber staying in one of the rooms at their hotel and not even know it? And why is Bernie so sure everything is connected? Fans of the previous Bessledorf books will not be disappointed in this new mystery, and readers new to the series will want to go back and read the rest. The characters are amusing, red herrings abound, the mystery unravels at just the right pace, and this time, Georgene and Weasel make Bernie carry out some of his own risky plans. Chris Sherman

More About the Author

I guess I've been writing for about as long as I can remember. Telling stories, anyway, if not writing them down. I had my first short story published when I was sixteen, and wrote stories to help put myself through college, planning to become a clinical psychologist. By the time I graduated with a BA degree, however, I decided that writing was really my first love, so I gave up plans for graduate school and began writing full time.

I'm not happy unless I spend some time writing every day. It's as though pressure builds up inside me, and writing even a little helps to release it. On a hard-writing day, I write about six hours. Tending to other writing business, answering mail, and just thinking about a book takes another four hours. I spend from three months to a year on a children's book, depending on how well I know the characters before I begin and how much research I need to do. A novel for adults, because it's longer, takes a year or more. When my work is going well, I wake early in the mornings, hoping it's time to get up. When the writing is hard and the words are flat, I'm not very pleasant to be around.

Getting an idea for a book is the easy part. Keeping other ideas away while I'm working on one story is what's difficult. My books are based on things that have happened to me, things I have heard or read about, all mixed up with imaginings. The best part about writing is the moment a character comes alive on paper, or when a place that existed only in my head becomes real. There are no bands playing at this moment, no audience applauding--a very solitary time, actually--but it's what I like most. I've now had more than 120 books published, and about 2000 short stories, articles and poems.

I live in Bethesda, Maryland, with my husband, Rex, a speech pathologist, who's the first person to read my manuscripts when they're finished. Our sons, Jeff and Michael, are grown now, but along with their wives and children, we often enjoy vacations together in the mountains or at the ocean. When I'm not writing, I like to hike, swim, play the piano and attend the theater.

I'm lucky to have my family, because they have contributed a great deal to my books. But I'm also lucky to have the troop of noisy, chattering characters who travel with me inside my head. As long as they are poking, prodding, demanding a place in a book, I have things to do and stories to tell.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By microjoe TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is known as "The Face in the Bessledorf Funeral Parlor", and as "Bernie Magruder & The Drive-Thru Funeral Parlor", but they are both the same story. The book is part of a series of books about Bernie Magruder who lives with his family in the Besseldorf Hotel, which they own. The stories are about small-town life. It is silly while being a bit scary at the same time. Bernie and his friend Georgene and Weasel are amateur detectives that solve crimes and mysteries in town, despite the fact that they are kids. There are numerous stories happening at the same time, such as the controversial new drive up window at the funeral parlor to view the deceased. And a business is robbed while one of the owners vanishes. There is humor, action, and enough mild spookiness for any kid to enjoy, and it makes me want to read other books in the series.
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