Who Invited the Dead Man? Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Who Invited the Dead Man?

Signet, July 2002, 5.99, 272 pp.
ISBN 045120659

Judge MacLaren Yarbrough has her hands full running Yarbrough's Feed, Seed, and Nursery, managing her magisterial duties, keeping care of her home and taking care of her husband Joe Riddley. Joe is recovering from a head injury and has to relearn how to care for himself as well as read and write. His memory is cloudy and he is prone to violent episodes.
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To show their support for Joe, two hundred people come to his birthday party and he enjoyed it as much as a kid would. Only a very few knew that in the house was the body of a dead man, shot to death by a bullet to his head. The sheriff conspired with MacLaren to keep it quiet until the guests left and they succeeded. Once the investigation got underway, MacLaren does her best to find out who the killer is and to prove to the authorities that Joe had nothing to do with it.

Patricia Sprinkles has created a complex mystery with many viable suspects who had ample reason to see the victim dead. Life in a small southern town where everyone knows their neighbor and a stranger sticks out is seen as a positive thing. The heartache of living with someone who has undergone severe brain trauma is shown in agonizing detail and readers can't help but empathize with the protagonist for caring for her man.

Harriet Klausner
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Who Invited the Dead Man?

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 60%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   very upbeat How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   life in small town Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   champion of justice Age:    -   60's-90's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Deep South

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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