I don't know if I should suggest that fans of Tonya Kappes' Ghostly Southern Mysteries would like this book, with the connection to a funeral home. Maybe it would be fans of Kathy Hogan Trocheck's Callahan Garrity cleaning service mysteries. Or, maybe I should just recommend Misty Simon's first Tallie Graver mystery, Cremains of the Day, to those who enjoy cozy mysteries with a self-aware, spirited amateur sleuth.
Tallie Graver could have gone into the family funeral home business. Instead, she married a man with money, Walden Phillips III. As their marriage deteriorated, she called him Waldo. Now that they're divorced, she's cleaning houses, usually for socialites she once considered friends. Darla Hackersham, for one, enjoys rubbing Tallie's nose into it, that she no longer has the money and position she once had. But, Tallie's happier now that she's admitted her mistakes, knowing she had been "a stuck-up bitch" when she was married. She's made up with her best friend Gina Laudermilch, owner of the local coffee shop. Now, Tallie cleans, helps her family with funerals, and helps Gina cater the dinners after the funerals.
After one of those funerals, everything goes downhill for poor Tallie. Sent to pick up sauerkraut at Gina's shop, she finds Gina's cousin tied to a chair and Waldo in the back alley. Who does the gruff police chief suspect might have attacked Waldo? Tallie hardly had time, but she's not one of the chief's favorite people. She's already not happy when she starts to have odd encounters with the flower deliveryman. When she shows up at Darla's house to clean after a party, she finds the woman's body. She's not having the best week. And, that flower deliveryman? He's looking for money that Waldo hid from the IRS.
Cremains of the Day is an amusing mystery with a flawed, introspective sleuth. She's reluctant to look for Waldo's money, but she's also on the hook for payments. However, as she bumbles along, she admits, "I was a failure at this whole sleuthing thing." But, with murder and money and the pressure getting to her, she begins to see herself a little differently. "Tallie Graver, amateur sleuth, wanted to stay out of jail, get the money, and solve whodunit before anyone else."
Misty Simon's first Tallie Graver mystery is a fun story, an enjoyable launch to a new cozy series.
Misty Simon's website is https://mistysimon.wordpress.com
Cremains of the Day by Misty Simon. Kensington. 2017. ISBN 9781496712219 (paperback), 250p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.