RARA-AVIS: Undertakers and Morticians

From: Steve Lewis ( stevelewis62@cox.net)
Date: 22 Dec 2005

After reading a book by Stanton Forbes called A Business of Bodies, the primary setting for which is a funeral home, I started to make a checklist of other detective novels which take place in such establishments and/or which have undertakers or morticians as sleuths.

A preliminary list can be found at http://www.mysteryfile.com/FuneralHomes.html . In terms of pulp stories, I have the Horatio Humberton stories that appeared in the reprint collection that came out last year from Battered Silicon Box; the Dr. Coffin series by Perley Poore Sheehan; and one one-shot detective named Dicken Cook, created by G. T. Fleming-Roberts. (Thanks to Mark Halegua and Monte Herridge for the assistance on the last two.)

There must be others, maybe even tons of them? I'm not looking for stories taking places in morgues, only funeral homes.

In terms of novels, the books below are possible entries, but I don't have access to mine, nor have I read them recently enough (or never) to know. Perhaps someone here can say, either way?

MERLE CONSTINER - Hearse of a Different Color (Phoenix Press, hc, 1952).

M. E. CHABER - A Hearse of Another Color (Rinehart & Co., hc, 1958).

And there must be others. Help me out, if you can. (And if you would, email me directly as well as to the list.)



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