St. Martin's, August 2004, 23.95, 224 pp.
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 report prepared by Harriet Klausner