by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
It’s not unusual for the guest of honor to be a late arrival to his own party, unless that event happens to be a funeral. Due to nepotism and shoddy investigation by corrupt detectives, Sterling Chaney was prematurely identified as the corpse in an automobile accident even though he was off vacationing in the Bahamas. His wife Camilla was not with him either in the car or on his illicit trip, so she’s not exactly thrilled to find him still carousing his way through his funeral. When Chouteau County death investigator Angela Richman is called to her next scene by the medical examiner, there is no doubt that the head sitting in the middle of the road belongs to the definitively dead Sterling Chaney. That the philanderer wasn’t alone wouldn’t have been much of a surprise, but her identity certainly is. Erin McBride was a strident advocate for the voice artists of a company owned by Sterling, a company that happened to be a phone sex call line that exploited its workers and denied them livable wages and benefits. Camilla Chaney’s outrage at hearing about her husband’s exploits makes her the prime suspect in his death, and Detective Jace Budewitz uses Angela’s friendship with the new widow to solicit information for a quick arrest.
Angela is infuriated by what she sees as Jace’s betrayal, so she relies on her boyfriend Police Officer Chris Ferretti for investigative help in proving Camilla’s innocence. Still mourning the loss of her husband, it has taken months of friendship from Chris to coax Angela into taking the risk of a new relationship. While she doesn’t hesitate to rely on him professionally, moving on and opening up her heart is another matter. Raised within Missouri’s elitist community of Chouteau Forest, Angela uses her knowledge of the social mores to follow the clues to those who felt betrayed by Sterling and his shady lifestyle. It seems that Sterling was an equal-opportunity extorter, taking advantage of women with few resources as well as his neighbors who have too many.
This sixth in the series is perhaps the lightest of the novels featuring Angela Richman, who struggled to recover her life and her profession after suffering from six strokes at the age of forty-one. The death of her husband was just as debilitating, but she may now finally be ready to open up to the man who can cook an amazing dinner while respecting her capabilities as a Death Investigator. Angela’s wry observations about her socialite neighbors are balanced with her compassion for those she once overlooked, but she isn’t without her own prejudices. Angela makes the same assumptions most would about the women who work for Sterling’s call service, many who are victims of a system that doesn’t allow them to escape it. Chekov’s pepper spray comes in handy just when Angela needs it, at a moment when she fears that justice might never win out.
The author’s epilogues are always a highlight for her mysteries, wrapping up plot lines and delivering satisfyingly and often ironic fates. Phone sex lines do still exist in this era of OnlyFans and Private Chat Rooms, and perhaps it is that very anonymity that keeps it alive. This is a fascinating exploration of sex workers, high society, and the ways in which they feed off of one another. Angela continues to be a very likable and sharp investigator, and readers will look forward to seeing her finally embrace the happiness she deserves.
To enter to win either an ebook or print copy of Late for His Own Funeral(winner’s choice), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “funeral,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 13, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT EBOOK OR PRINT. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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