Series: The Mortician Murders #2
Published by: Cryptik Press
Release Date: June 16, 2022
Buy the Book: Amazon
Nothing says romance like his and hers caskets.
Imogene Lynch has decorated the chapel for Greener Pastures’ first wedding-funeral, but on the morning of the big event, one casket is empty. Has the bride gotten cold feet? Or has someone absconded with her?
The spirits aren’t talking, but they are making Imogene’s life a misery. When the police suspect the mortuary’s head embalmer of stealing the corpse to sell on the black market, she and El, the hunky night watchman, realize it’s up to them to find the missing body.
Their search leads to a berserker Viking cult, obnoxious frat boys, and a pirate bar, among other dangers. But Imogene and El are determined to reunite the deceased couple, or die trying.
If you can imagine Agatha Raisin as a twenty-something, rockabilly ex-hairdresser with a weird connection to the dead, this book is for you.
Greta Boris is a terrifically gifted storyteller. – Heather Young, author of The Distant Dead, from Harper Collins
This is a cosy lover's dream.-Goodreads reviewer
Also in this series:
The bride and groom rested under a canopy of lilies in their separate caskets. Expectation hung in the air like the scent of roses. I felt giddy despite myself. There’s nothing like a wedding to perk up a funeral.
I’d been the hair and makeup stylist for Greener Pastures Mortuary for the past eight months. Although I enjoyed my job and, on many levels, found it more rewarding than my previous gig at Harry’s Hair Stop where I’d focused my talents on the living, it did get monotonous at times.
Funerals were funerals, after all. At Harry’s, I’d gotten to style hair for all kinds of events, although weddings had been rare even there. Most of our clientele had hailed from Liberty Grove, a huge retirement community that sprawled under the Southern California sun. The lack of nuptials in my career may explain why I’d gone all out with this one.
Not only had I worked my magic on Karin Swanson and Sven Marks—the bride and groom—I’d decorated The Jubilee Chapel within an inch of its life. It looked lovely, if I did say so myself. I’d positioned the large bouquets that had been arriving for the past two days to their best advantage. The swags and taffeta bows swinging from the pews distracted the eye from the institutional blue carpet. I’d even camouflaged the painting entitled Heaven’s Gate—a garish blue and white thing that hung behind the organ—with a vase of puffy white peonies.
“What do you think?” I asked El, who leaned in the doorway.
He folded his muscled arms over his impressive chest and nodded his appreciation. “You’ve outdone yourself, Imogene.”
El was Greener Pastures’ night watchman and my best friend. I suspected he wanted a closer relationship, but I wasn’t interested. Yes, El was extremely handsome in an all-American kind of way. He was also kind and charming, but all of that meant he wasn’t my type. I tended to be attracted to short, dark, and nasty.
“Your idea about having the service graveside was a good one, too,” I said diplomatically.
I actually didn’t like the idea of a wedding surrounded by tombstones, but park space was scarce in Orange County. Some of the big cemeteries regularly booked weddings on their grounds. As cremation became more and more de rigueur and burials less common, mortuaries needed the extra income. Those weddings were for the living, however. This one was for the dead. It was special.
“How are they managing the vows?” El asked. “They can’t exactly say them.”
“I believe they have friends standing in.”
“Hope they’re perkier than the bride and groom.”
I could hear the giggle in his voice, so I didn’t comment.
“Wonder if the groom has cold feet?” I groaned, but El was on a roll. “Most people only have to stay married until death do them part. This is a real commitment.”
I pushed myself off the doorframe. There had been more lame jokes than crows flying around here lately. It was getting old. “It’s a tragic situation,” I said in my most adult voice.
El’s goofy grin disappeared. “You’re right. I shouldn’t make fun. But it’s weird.”
Weird was the operative word. The couple had died in a car accident on the way home from their wedding rehearsal dinner. However, their religion taught that death was the door to another dimension, one their leaders insisted they would’ve wanted to walk through together. Hence the wedding-funeral. It was romantic, in a weird kind of way.
I turned toward the stairs leading down to Death Valley—that’s what we affectionately call the embalming room at Greener Pastures—but stopped when the front door opened.
A wiry young man with a flower arrangement almost as big as he was, entered. He peeked at me from behind a mass of roses and baby’s breath cascading from a vase shaped like a dragon’s head. “For the Swanson and Marks wedding?” His Adam’s apple bobbed nervously.
I walked toward him with my arms outstretched. “I’ll take it.”
“Can you sign?”
I wrote my name on the paper he handed me and took the vase. He bolted out the door.
El scratched his chin. “He was in a hurry.”
“This place has that effect on some people,” I said.
I walked into the Jubilee and marched up the aisle. The Heathenist religious group paying for the wedding-funeral took their doctrine from what little was known about Norse mythology. The matching caskets had been specially made to look like Viking ships with tapered, curling ends. I had the perfect spot for the unusual arrangement. The dragon vase would make a good figurehead.
I climbed onto the platform, placed the flowers between the caskets, then stepped into the aisle to survey the results. It was a bit off-center.
“Imogene.” El had followed me into the room and was standing next to the bride’s casket.
I was in a creative cloud, and only peripherally noticed my name being called, so I didn’t respond. I stepped onto the platform and wiggled the flowers slightly to the left.
“Imogene,” he said, a little louder this time.
The flowers were centered now, but they needed fluffing. The roses were all clumped together. “Hmmmm?” I moved to fix them.
“Imogene, come here.”
I glanced at him with consternation. El was one of the most mild-mannered people I knew, but he didn’t sound mild mannered at the moment.
“What?” I forgot about the roses, walked to his side, followed his gaze, and gasped.
“She’s run off,” he said.
The bride was gone.