The village mystery, featuring an incredible family, local police, and the undertaker who owns his own cemetery for New Age funerals. Very interesting and enjoyable read.
Here's a nice tangled mystery. You might call it cozy noir, I guess, or simply one of the amateur PI genre. Drew Slocombe, an "alternative" undertaker, is asked by his wife's cousin to look into the disappearance of a cousin from the other side of her family. Drew has gained a little bit of notoriety after solving another mystery earlier, and he can't help feeling interested in the story. Still, he wouldn't have done it if it weren't for family ties and the fact that he knows the mother of the missing person. He's pretty soon knee-deep in a raft of dysfunctional relationships plus police with motivational problems.
I needed the character list in the front to keep track of all the relationships, but that was fine. And I found a "Britishism" I'd never heard before - to be "sectioned", or placed under mental health watch. Tope gives heavy hints about the darkness underneath, although there are some funny moments too, and led me down more than one wrong path before the end was revealed. This setting is rural England, and she also wove into the plot the anguish felt by the farmers over having their livestock slaughtered during the hoof-and-mouth disease tragedy. None of the characters is totally pure, and none of them are totally unsympathetic. All of them get their motivations examined and explained quite well. I liked the police the least: while Tope gave Den Cooper an out for his disinterest in the situation I didn't think the rest of the department would have been quite so lackadaisical. I've liked all Tope's mysteries I've read so far, although A DIRTY DEATH is still my favorite. This one is part of a series, but it stands alone well enough.