Twice Dead


More than thirty years ago, a minister named Ralph Posey absconded with the church funds, abandoning his wife and daughter. At least, that's what everyone in Perdue thought, until a startling discovery makes it obvious that he never left town at all - he was murdered, and all evidence implicates his wife as the killer. Bonita Posey admittedly detested her husband, but she denies taking his life. Can Taylor uncover the truth in time to keep her octogenarian friend out of prison? ...
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Twice Dead [A Taylor Madison Mystery]

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More than thirty years ago, a minister named Ralph Posey absconded with the church funds, abandoning his wife and daughter. At least, that's what everyone in Perdue thought, until a startling discovery makes it obvious that he never left town at all - he was murdered, and all evidence implicates his wife as the killer. Bonita Posey admittedly detested her husband, but she denies taking his life. Can Taylor uncover the truth in time to keep her octogenarian friend out of prison?
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Editorial Reviews

Carrie S. Masek
"No one in Perdue, TX bothers to lock their doors. Perdue's that kind of town--friendly and safe. Mystery writer Taylor Madison wants to settle down to a quiet life in Perdue with the town's sexy new sheriff, Cal Arnette. However, only a few months after solving the murder of Cal's predecessor, she discovers another body. This time it's the skeletal remains of Ralph Posey, the late and unlamented husband of Taylor's elderly friend Bo Posey. Everyone in Perdue had assumed Ralph left town over thirty years ago, but the forensic evidence proves he was murdered and stuffed up the chimney of Bo's guesthouse. Bo becomes the chief suspect in the murder investigation. Taylor, determined to prove Bo's innocence and despite Cal's pleas to stay out of it, begins her own investigation. Her well-meaning interference jeopardizes Cal's job and triggers an attempt on Bo's life. Friendly, safe Perdue harbors secrets. Secrets someone is willing to kill for. Secrets Taylor must uncover before the killer strikes again.

TWICE DEAD is a fast-paced, well-plotted murder mystery. Ms. Dearl plays fair with her readers. She serves up all the necessary clues, but mixes them with enough intriguing red herrings to make the exciting ending surprising as well as satisfying.

As much as I enjoyed watching Taylor unravel the mystery of Ralph Posey's death, I enjoyed the characters she met along the way even more. The inhabitants of Perdue are well developed and fascinating, particularly Bo, the crusty, eighty-five year old murder suspect, Faith, her ice-princess daughter, and Harvey Neville, an obese Paul Newman look alike obsessed with ballerinas. Taylor's relationship with Cal adds depth to the story, and Hazel, her delightful ferret, offers a welcome dash of comic relief.

"Readers familiar with Ms. Dearl's first Taylor Madison mystery, DIAMONDBACK, will be delighted with her second outing. Others are in for a treat. A clever mystery, full of quirky, well-drawn characters, TWICE DEAD makes a great summer read. I highly recommend it."
Scribes World Reviews

Jo Rogers
"The saga of loveable, blonde, mystery writer Taylor Madison, begun in DIAMONDBACK, continues in TWICE DEAD. She has published three novels now, and is financially comfortable if not rich. So, when she hears that Bonita "Bo" Posey, owner of the grocery store in Perdue, Texas, is having a yard sale, her thrifty nature surfaces, and she can't resist taking a peek at Bo's stuff. So she cons her boyfriend, Deputy Cal Arnette, into going with her to check out the merchandise.

"Taylor still hasn't bought herself a real coat, and she is freezing in the little cottage where Bo stores her junk and her treasures, including a mahogany desk Taylor wants, but can't afford. When Cal suggests building a fire in the fireplace, Bo says no, because the chimney hasn't been cleaned in thirty years. Cal looks up the chimney and says it is indeed blocked. While he goes after his flashlight, Taylor pokes at the blockage with a broom handle. Nothing could have prepared her for the skeleton that plopped into the grate. It is the skeleton of Ralph Posey, Bo's husband, who vanished that very day thirty-five years ago.

"TWICE DEAD is a gem of a mystery, and Taylor Madison grows ever more loveable as she stumbles over and through a mountain of evidence as she tries to find the killer. She jumps to many wrong conclusions before she finally reaches the right one. This is a quick read, so you might not have to put it down if you start early enough! I enjoyed this one thoroughly and look forward to the next Taylor Madison caper."
My Shelf Reviews

Patricia Harrington
"TWICE DEAD is the second in the Taylor Madison series, and it's a pleasure to write that author Elizabeth Dearl has a solid hit with this tale of murderous doings in small town Perdue, Texas. In her first book, DIAMONDBACK (Avid Press), the author introduced readers to amateur sleuth Taylor Madison and to her new hometown, Perdue. The biggest tourist attraction in Perdue is the annual Rattler Festival, an event which makes "colorful" an apt description of the town and its inhabitants. In TWICE DEAD, the author continues to evolve her protagonist, Taylor Madison, deepening her character by showing the young woman's willingness to risk and tackle life on her own terms . . . with a little compromising on the side.

"Taylor is "going-on" 29 and a mystery writer by choice and an amateur sleuth by avocation. She's moved from big city Houston with pizza delivery service to Perdue where the only restaurant is Lucy's, a sit-down cafe on the town's main drag. Taylor has taken the town's characters to her heart, including the town's deputy sheriff Cal Arnette. He is intent on maneuvering Taylor into a union of a closer kind -- known as marriage. Taylor also is very fond of Bonita (Bo) Posey, the elderly owner of Posey's Grocery Store. When a skeleton is found, old timers, including Bo, instantly know who it is. The gleaming gold incisor in the skeleton's skull could only belong to Ralph Posey. Ralph was Bo's husband, and he mysteriously disappeared 35 years ago. Ralph Posey was a bible-thumping preacher. Unfortunately, he also was an abusive husband, a womanizer, and apparently, a crook. Five thousand dollars went missing from the church safe at about the same time as Ralph scooted out of town. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that plenty of folks wanted Ralph permanently out of their lives. Bo quickly becomes the primary suspect, particularly in the mind of Dave Underwood, a rival county commissioner and thoroughly unlikable fellow.

"The mystery moves at a lively pace as Taylor explores tangled relationships and ferrets out long ago secret passions. Speaking of ferrets, Taylor has one, a companion/pet named Hazel, who makes a nice foil for the sleuth, especially when she's grumbling about life. Step by step, Taylor follows threads of information that eventually lead her to the hidden pasts of those who wanted Ralph dead. She's able then, to logically deduce why the murder happened, and of course, who dispatched the preacher onto his next life. This is definitely a book for the reader who loves to settle into a comfy armchair, have a cup of something nearby, and read nonstop to find out "who did it?" This series will pick up many fans and loyal readers over the years.

"Author Elizabeth Dearl also has included in the book a recipe, "Dorothy's Hot Rattlesnake Cider." Dorothy, by the way, is the talkative, see-it-all neighbor of Taylor Madison's, and she provides an extra piquant flavor to the series.

"I have no doubt that Elizabeth Dearl will be a household name among readers who enjoy a traditional mystery." Mystery Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759933071
  • Publisher: Mundania Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2005
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 2 of 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2002

    Twice Dead doesn't disappoint!

    Elizabeth Dearl's Twice Dead is a wonderful read. Don't pick it up if you're going to have to stop in five or ten minutes because you'll be hard pressed to put the book down. It's filled with well-conceived, delightful characters; a plot that, as one reviewer in the cover pages put it, 'has more twists than a Texas twister' (the best analogy, really, for this book); and colorful phrases that pull you in and make it so easy to keep gobbling up the story. Plus, there's even a recipe at the back of the book! Truly, this book was a delight to read (and a stumper to solve!). Ms. Dearl is perhaps the best lesser-known mystery writer of the day, but she's on par with the likes of Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, etc. This book won't disappoint at all.

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    Posted January 26, 2010

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