Full disclosure – I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book by the authors but have voluntarily provided a review. All opinions are my own.
A delightfully cringy cozy mystery
Somewhere in Middle Georgia a local undertaker is preparing for a funeral. One in a line of many upcoming events, Ygveny wants everything to be perfect to send off his client. But when his gravedigger discovers that there is already a body in the hole that is not Mr. Dunlap he rises to the challenge. Of course, the police are called, but Geny does not want them to stand in the way of business. After handing over select evidence including a headless, handless body he also sets out to attempt to solve what appears to be a murder. But in following his leads, Geny winds up in the most unlikely of places. Even with the cops’ stern warning to not interfere it’s personal for the amateur sleuth as he is determined to crack the case before the local law enforcement.
The Body in The Hole is the first in The Undertaker Series of books by author Jonathan Zeitlin and this was by far one of the more bizarre and entertaining cozy mysteries I have read in a long time. Beginning with Ygveny, the local undertaker who is very into his part, complete with Victorian garb and mannerisms he almost reminded me of a short, benevolent “Tall Man” of Phantasm lore. But that is not where Geny’s eccentricities stop as he is also a Sherlockian and an amateur taxidermist (I mean it makes sense, right?).. and he is completely smitten with Brianna, the granddaughter of one of his long standing “residents”. To me Yvgeny is like the goth guy who is a little weird on the outside but a totally sentimental softie once you get to know him. But Geny isn’t the only eccentric person in his town, in fact, I would wager to say most of the residents are a few screws short of a hardware store, but honestly that is what makes Zeitlin’s story work so well. With every character from the major players to the bit parts larger than life, The Body in the Hole had me howling with laughter one minute and gasping in utter shock and borderline disgust the next. Zeitlin’s brand of crazies is right up my alley, and I loved every second of this book. As of this writing, I have already purchased book two in the series and hope to return to Middle Georgia for more antics from Yvgeny and the rest sooner rather than later.
If you like your mysteries light, but also have dark sense of humor, I would strongly recommend this book.