Never Trust a Dead Man by Vivian Vande Velde.
Harcourt Brace & Company: NY, 1999.

Selwyn has been accused of murdering Farold, another young man in their small town. The townspeople rush to judgment and the ringleader proclaims he should be buried alive in the burial cave with the body of the dead man. A witch comes to his aide (for a price) and brings the dead man's spirit back to life. Unfortunately, Farold does not know who the murderer is, since he was sleeping and stabbed in the back.

The two young men go disguised into the town to investigate. What they learn is that there are too many people who had cause to want Farold dead. Apparently no one wanted to look into the murder, because they were afraid suspicion would be cast on them. By the end, there are about nine suspects.

The book is mostly a murder mystery but part comedy as well, slightly farcial. Farold's spirit ends up in a bat's body by mistake, and his personality is as unpleasant in death as in life. The witch is comical with her whacking Selwyn for stupid questions and comments and her outrageous price. The daunting task of finding the murderer is also amusing, plus Selwyn's second disguise. The story lightly explores some social issues, though it is largely a comedy. A good, fun story.

I love the title, though it is only loosely connected to the story. It isn't as important as it sounds.

This is a high interest, low level book. Sixth graders could easily read it, but because of the social issues and age of protagonist it is considered YA.

related-murder mysteries, detective stories, motives, small towns, magic, dating


RSS Add to Stumble It! Add to Technorati Favorites
Email Updates
Kickstart Reading/50+ Transitional Books
Horizons Transitional Books
Horizons Transitional Books
BookAdvice Crosswords
Follow minerva66 at Twitter
Knock Your Socks Off Challenge

Recent NTugo Network Posts

    ©2006-2016 Advice, banner, and coding help given by Redwall_hp. Established May 2006.