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From the PublisherThere have been undertakers who solved crimes before Mark de Castrique introduced us to Barry Clayton, but they were all a bit jaunty for my taste. Clayton is a former Charlotte police officer who returned to his mountain hometown to take over the family funeral business when his father's Alzheimer's disease derailed him. Clayton isn't pompous or ponderous, but he knows that his work is important to the people involved, a calling to be carried out with respect.
"Foolish Undertaking," de Castrique's third mystery about Clayton, is a gripping, sharply written, complex tale about the Montagnards—Vietnamese tribesmen whose ferocious courage and loyalty saved the lives of many U.S. troops during the war. When a beloved Montagnard leader who lived in the area dies of cancer, a large funeral is planned, with celebrity mourners coming from across the country. But as Clayton is working on the remains, he is attacked and the body stolen.
The subtle ways de Castrique captures the physical and human geography of a unique part of the American South are as important and as impressive as his narrative skills. — Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune, 3/19/2006.