The words "undertaker" and "funeral director" usually conjure up images of the stereotypical older gentleman in a dark suit with a constant frown, and monotone voice. Creepy. Slightly off putting. One would think that the business of a funeral director would be very solemn, and lacking any sense of humor whatsoever. That is what you'd think until you've read a book by Todd Harra and Ken McKenzie called Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt.
Harra and McKenzie, both funeral directors, have reached out to their fellow brethren in the business to create a humorous, touching, and sometimes, macabre compilation of tales from the world of undertakers. Mortuary Confidential draws back the curtains on the business of death in a way that most people would never see or know. From the "death call" to the actual burial, Harra and McKenzie demystify some of the behind-the-scenes elements of their business, while entertaining readers with many unusual, witty, and moving moments from funeral directors across the country.
Mortuary Confidential was an amusing read, and quite enjoyable. Not all of the tales are rip-roaring funny, but I don't think that's what the authors were attempting to do. Some of the stores tug at the heart-strings as you read about the levels of grief from loved ones that funeral directors deal with on a daily basis. But, others lifted the veil to show the more fallible side of a funeral director. Whether it is the hearse getting lost on the way to the funeral or the bottom of the casket dropping out in the middle of the service, the book proves that everyone is human, and everyone have a bad day. I particularly enjoyed the two stories included from Harra himself. A city street shootout in front of a church during a funeral and his first date with his wife are immortalized among the pages.
The book had some great moments that left me laughing, and some moments that left me contemplative. In many ways, this book left me hoping that my funeral (may it be a long time from now) have some unusual occurrence that will allow it to become the talk among funeral directors in years to come.
Harra and McKenzie released a follow-up to this book entitled Over Our Dead Bodies: Undertakers Lift the Lid. I haven't read it yet, but it is on my list. Todd Harra is also preparing to release his first mystery novel entitled Grave Matters, featuring Tripp Clipper who is, you guessed it, a mystery-solving funeral director.
If you're looking for something light and fun to read, pick up Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt. I highly recommend it.
You can find out more about Todd Harra and his book at his website, www.toddharra.com.