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The Sting of Death: A Mystery Hardcover – August 1, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Den Cooper Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British author Tope’s two series detectives, Det. Sgt. Den Cooper and amateur sleuth/"alternative undertaker" Drew Slocombe, join forces in her fifth mystery (after 2003’s A Death to Record), a dark, unsettling cozy set in rural East Devon. When Drew and his wife, Karen, entertain Karen’s cousin Penn Strabinski for an afternoon, they learn that Penn has come to seek Drew’s help in finding another cousin, Justine Pereira, who has gone missing. Justine had been living on what was a working farm until mad cow disease forced the slaughter of the livestock. With the help of his irreverent assistant, Maggs, and the hard-luck detective sergeant (just back from a disastrous fortnight’s holiday on Corfu), Drew unravels a complex tangle of hidden secrets and murder. Readers drawn by the placid swath of green English countryside on the jacket should be prepared for a challenging plot and a host of psychologically wounded characters, including a cold and driven career woman, a devastated farmer and an unhappy housewife. A character list helps keep track of the complicated family relationships.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Tope brings the sleuths from her two mystery series together to solve a complicated case in rural East Devon. Undertaker Drew Slocombe and Detective Sergeant Den Cooper get involved in the search for a missing girl and find that all is not calm in the lovely farm country. The eccentric members of a thoroughly dysfunctional family are too busy with their careers, hobbies, and feuds to be bothered with tasks such as parenting. The deaths of a woman and a child don't seem to bother them a bit. The solution reveals a very tangled web that leaves Cooper so disillusioned that he considers resigning from the force. This country not-so-cozy could easily turn up as a PBS mystery. Tope has created an intriguing plot and a cast of unlikable but fascinating loonies. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312316550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312316556
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,839,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce Simon on July 31, 2014
Format: Paperback
I was expecting a very engrossing English countryside mystery with individual characters, radiating both public and private eccentricities. Instead i got a gallery of participants, who were both unappealing and self absorbed. Drew Slocombe, the undertaker and his wife, Karen, were the most congenial but the rest of the distant relatives were catty, indifferent and basically radiated an undisguised loathing for each other. Penn Slabinski was a flighty, distant in searching for another cousin, Justine, who vanished while employed at a working farm, devastated by mad cow disease. The owners of the farm are a married couple inconstant turmoil,who have a child which neither really wanted. Compound this plot when the child of the farm couple is found dead in a ditch and you have a murky potpourri of discord, recrimination and epidemic dysfunction. The entire cast was not pleasant or redemptive enough for me to care about to any great extent. The Cotswold series was more entertaining for me.
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By A Customer on July 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Drew Slocombe is an undertaker who does natural burials behind his house which is situated on ten acres of land. He also has a local and national reputation as an amateur sleuth because he solved some murder investigations. Perhaps that is why his wife's cousin Penn comes to him when her cousin Justine Pereira turns up missing. Justine is living on Penn and Sheena's farm baby sitting their daughter Georgia in exchange for reduced rent and a barn to do her pottery.

Justine was supposed to meet Pen for lunch but never showed up and her search of Justine's house made her think that Justine left in a hurry. Pen becomes interested in the case and with his work assistant Maggs Beacon searches the house and finds enough evidence to report Justine's disappearance to Detective Sargent Pen Cooper. The plot thickens when Justine shows up at her mother Roma's house saying Pen kidnapped her and the body of Georgia is found in a ditch on the Renton farm. Penn disappears leaving everyone to wonder what was really going on at the Renton farm.

The protagonists from Rebecca Tope's two series come together in THE STING OF DEATH to solve a crime that leaves the policeman and the undertaker totally confused. The Rentons are a strange couple with Sheena believing her daughter was at her mother in law's house and Phillip saying he had an affair with Justine who took Georgia with her when she went camping. They are very neglectful parents but the police cast their suspicions until mother Roma comes up with a brilliant way of getting at the truth. This is one of the best mysteries Ms. Tope has ever written.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
interesting who dunit with a great twist at the end
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am enjoying her writing style
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