Libby, a former flame of Hitchcock Sewell, has returned to town with her two children, but minus one husband and one nanny. Libby's husband has been accounted for -- she left him back in Annapolis. However, the nanny, Sophie, is truly missing. As soon as Hitch starts to nose around, Sophie turns up -- literally -- in the Severn River. She's quite dead, and just a little bit pregnant. The police suspect suicide, but Sophie's mom is adamant it's murder. Hitch's sense: He sides with the mother. Racing around town, Hitch finds more questions than answers. Murder in the Hearse Degree is another pitch-perfect mystery in a series that never disappoints, always surprises, and keeps the laughs -- and corpses -- rolling right along.
Those who enjoy lighthearted mysteries with screwball characters will relish Cockey's fourth outing to feature Baltimore undertaker Hitchcock Sewell. A former lover, Libby Gellman, who's left her abusive husband, Mike, asks Hitch to find Sophie Potts, her missing nanny. When Sophie turns up dead and pregnant, a supposed suicide, Hitch agrees to investigate. Hitch and his pal Pete Munger, a sometime PI, learn that Sophie was interested in ARK the Alliance for Reason and Kindness an amorphous religious organization. The case heats up when Hitch uncovers some puzzling connections: a friend of Sophie's, who'd accompanied her to visit ARK's shady director, Crawford Larue, is murdered; Larue's wife is having an affair with Mike; and Mike's uncle Owen, a high-powered attorney, is connected with ARK. Then Mike commits suicide. As usual, the writing is smooth and amusing: a man has muttonchop sideburns "thick enough you could hide toothpicks in them"; another has a moustache "the size of a small propeller." Fans will be glad to see such series regulars as Hitch's ex-wife, Julia; his mortuary partner, Aunt Billie; and 12-year-old mortician wannabe Darryl Sandusky. A passing parade of clients completes the offbeat cast. Author tour.