Death by Autopsy: A Toni Day Mystery
by Jane Bennett Munro

"You know, the American Heart Association recommends taking at least thirty to forty-five seconds to verify the absence of a pulse before starting CPR."

Toni Day, M.D. is a hospital pathologist who witnesses a car crash into the frigid waters of a deep canal in Twin Falls, Idaho. She selflessly stops to help, but becomes trapped herself. After the car is extricated and one Beulah Mae Pritchard is brought from the car to the hospital where Dr. Day works, she finds herself called in to perform the autopsy. However, once she initiates the procedure, indications are that Beulah may not be so dead. Beulah's husband's dead body is also found stuffed into Beulah Mae's trunk, and his autopsy is piled on to keep Toni busy all weekend. Beulah's injuries lead to her eventual death, but Toni begins to have self-doubt on whether she in anyway contributed to Beulah's death. Events begin to cascade out of control, and a lawsuit charging Toni with just such a complicity are filed in a malpractice suit.

This medical mystery is a page-turner, with plot twists and tensions that keep the reader engaged. The techniques and terminology of pathology and autopsies are a subtheme, the politics of malpractice lawsuits also illustrated. Her cast of characters are charmingly portrayed and recognizable to the mind's eye. The first person voice is well executed, making one feel swept up along with the swirl of action. The theme is perhaps one of how old family secrets and alliances can extend forward into present time. A snapshot of small town Idaho is rendered along the way. Fans of medical drama and mysteries will be sure to love this fast-paced and fact-laced romp through the world of pathology. General readers can also enjoy learning about the world of autopsies, murder, and cover-ups. The author speaks with authority while being creatively entertaining.

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