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

Death by Autopsy

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

To say that Toni Day has had a rough week is an understatement. First she witnesses a car plunging into a canal, then when the car is raised and the driver extracted she realizes she knows (and doesn’t particularly like) the woman. In fact, Beulah Pitchard was not liked by many people. But the real shock comes when Toni is just about to cut into the corpse on her autopsy table she realizes that Beulah isn’t dead. Later things get stranger when police inform her that the woman’s husband’s body was stuffed in the car trunk. And to top it all off, after Beulah does die, Toni and the hospital are sued for malpractice!

Although this is the first of the Toni Day books that I have read, it is actually the fourth in the series. Sometimes this presents a problem for readers because they don’t know the back story of the characters, but it was not a problem at all with this book. There were very few references made to what had come before . We quickly learn that Toni is a pathologist at a hospital in Twin Falls, is married to a college professor and has no children. There really isn’t anything else readers need to know about Toni.

The technical detailing of a hospital morgue and autopsies was fascinating. It also gave readers an interesting perspective into the crime. With many mysteries, evidence at the crime scene is a major factor and readers find out about the cause of death through the sheriff’s eyes when he gets the autopsy report back. But in this book-and I presume this series, readers follow along as the autopsy is performed and we not only find out death was caused by a contusion to the head, but “see” the wound as the doctor sees it.

I was not at all surprised to see that the author is a pathologist. It is to her credit that she is able to write a mystery with so much technical detailing involved and makes it so very interesting-not at all like a classroom lecture.

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