Cover image for The bug funeral
The bug funeral
Shaber, Sarah R.
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Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2004.
Physical Description:
227 pages ; 22 cm
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FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery

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Although there is a murder in Shaber's Bug Funeral, the bugs themselves aren't the victims. In the engaging series launched by Shaber's Malice-winning first novel, Simon Said, the author's amateur sleuth is a professor of history, particularly that of a relatively recent period. In each of the stories, Shaber has set her pleasant, somewhat bumbling and extremely likeable detective figuratively and often literally digging into a happening that could reveal its long-ago tale to him.
But even Simon finds is very reluctant to be involved in the current cry for help from a woman sent to him by a professor friend - a man whose judgment has always seemed before to be excellent. The woman, who amazes Simon by turning out to be intelligent, sophisticated and very attractive woman indeed, confesses that she believes she has murdered an infant in a past life. Although Simon is as skeptical and even scornful as any decent historian should be, the woman's nature herself convinces him to help her. With unexpected finds, and the story makes its way through a path of surprises to a most surprising - and thoroughly believable finish. It's a delightful and challenging game that Ms. Shaber has invited her readers to join; and they'll love it.

Author Notes

Sarah R. Shaber lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her family. Her first novel, Simon Said, was the 1996 St. Martin's Press/ Malice Domestic Contest winner for Best First traditional mystery.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Shaber's fourth intriguing Simon Shaw whodunit (after 2003's The Fugitive King), the mild-mannered professor at Kenan College in Raleigh, N.C., has earned a reputation as a "forensic historian," that is, an expert in solving long-ago crimes. When a friend's goddaughter, Helen Williams, tells him that she may be the reincarnation of a woman who murdered her child a century earlier, Simon is ready to dismiss Helen's claim as nonsense. A cursory inquiry reveals nothing, and he thinks he's off the hook. After a curious incident changes his mind, Simon becomes engrossed in a methodical and thorough investigation that not only will put him and Helen in danger but also will heat up a cold case to the boiling point. The reincarnation debate between believers and skeptics, epitomized in epigraphs that head each chapter, adds to the suspense. Credible characters, smooth and natural dialogue, charming descriptions of Raleigh at Christmastime and a creative solution to the mystery all lift this well above the cozy average. Agent, Vicky Bijur. (May 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Series sleuth Simon Shaw (The Fugitive King), now gaining some notoriety as a forensic historian, tackles a problematic case. A friend's goddaughter wants to know if her recurring flashbacks about a 1910 Raleigh woman refer to a real person. The most disturbing image is that of the woman burying a dead child: could she have been a murderer? Not a believer in reincarnation or even psychic phenomena, Simon discovers the truth of the matter by using his usual research methods. Realistic Southern settings, glimpses of small-college academic life, and the mundane realities of bachelorhood make for a pleasant, undemanding read. A cozy for larger collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.