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Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  739 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
When the casket reached the front of the sanctuary, there was a loud cracking sound as the bottom fell out. And with a thump, down came Father Iggy.

From shoot-outs at funerals to dead men screaming and runaway corpses, undertakers have plenty of unusual stories to tell--and a special way of telling them.

In this macabre and moving compilation, funeral directors across the
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Citadel (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,640)
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Dan Schwent
Nov 24, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Mortuary Confidential is a collection of tales about the funeral business.

So, in the wake of my grandmother's death, I was thinking about the great beyond a bit and stumbled upon this. Since I have nearly infinite store credit at the local used bookstore, I snapped it up.

This is not precisely the book I thought it would be. I was expecting hilarious, inappropriate stories. While some of the stories were funny, most were just interesting. I guess I can't fault the book for that.

Some favorite tale
Brenda Clough
This review originally appeared in the International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Magazine (

There are a million stories in every business, and funerals are no exception. Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt, by Kenneth McKenzie and Todd Harra, is a collection of industry anecdotes. The authors – McKenzie is actually a funeral director, and Harra is from a family of undertakers -- interviewed people in the industry, aiming for stories that were either amusing or po
Jun 10, 2010 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in a light-hearted book about one of the least understood professions.
Shelves: quirkyandfun
I seem to be drawn to things that are quirky, and this book is no exception. Mortuary Confidential offers a glimpse into the profession of funeral directors, those special men and women who feel called to the ministry of caring for the deceased and their bereaved loved ones. The vignettes are contributed by individuals across the country, who share a glimpse of their profession through recollections that are at once touching, funny, surprising and even sometimes downright embarrassing. (My favor ...more
Monique Atgood
Mar 31, 2012 Monique Atgood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine savoring a world class meal with friends while trading stories over dessert and coffee and you have "Mortuary Confidential".

It's a collection of about 50 stories from people who work in the funeral business. They cover the range from tales of personal loss, to humor and stories that just plain make you shake your head.
Sad, Funny, Charming - A Collection of Stories

The sad ones you would expect, but in general, this book is more upbeat that not.

It is self- published, and feels like it coul
John Paxton
Short,simple anecdotes that are ideal for on the fly reading. Broken up into related sections, pickup, transit, funeral home,services, etc the most interesting thing is the variety of voices,the relationships formed with customers and the exposure to people during an upheaval in their live. Matter of fact, almost secular, and while some people look for deep introspection in titles like this other than the obvious one, talk to people today , one or both of you may not be here tomorrow. K there's ...more
Jun 29, 2010 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd definitely recommend this book if you were a fan of "Six Feet Under". You get 50 stories told by funeral directors. Some are funny, some are sad but never disrespectful or too shocking. A really interesting peak in the life of those who take care of our departed loved ones.
Mykel Richardson
Oct 21, 2014 Mykel Richardson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a compilation of actual accounts from funeral directors all around the world. I rated this book a 4.5/5 stars because it was successful in keeping me interested and entertained with the various stories. The book is filled with laughs, sad moments, and outrageous events that are sure to keep anyone at the edge of their seat. The book is not side-splitting, but it does offer its fair share of laughs for the reader. Although the book is not as funny as perceived, it is definitely funn ...more
Jan 05, 2014 Lauder rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leisure-reads
As I tore the Christmas wrapping away from Mortuary Confidential, I was so excited, and I couldn't wait to read a collection labeled as "lively as a bunch of drunks at a New Orleans funeral."

Now, I wouldn't classify this collection as "funny," but it was extremely "brilliant." And I quite enjoyed learning more about the embalming process, funerals, and death calls.

One of the most enjoyable stories was "A Solution for Sagging." I guess I had never thought about how undertakers, ahem, handle sag
Mar 11, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great collection of stories that take the reader into the world of death care.
Feb 27, 2011 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eric by: Amazon
I have to say this book almost dropped to 2 stars for me. There are some heartfelt and interesting stories in here. They are all very short - 2 or 3 pages generally and easy to read.

Here's the big issue: they're not as funny as advertised.

I was lead to believe this would be lots of "you won't believe this" kind of comedy of errors and amusing things going on. Hell, the picture on the cover even lends itself to that. What's inside is very different. Many of these stories belonged in some kind of
Dec 16, 2010 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun-reading
While I really enjoyed reading about some of the crazier things that morticians around the country have dealt with, I had a hard time ignoring the poor writing. It was appalling in a lot of areas. An example:

"Many a person has told me of the discrete removal of certain objects from their friend's or sibling's house before the parents or children go in to clean it out. But aside from the objects, stuff that maybe we shouldn't have or would be embarrassed to admit owning are the people."

Yes, I'd b
Ashley Scott
Jan 01, 2016 Ashley Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a really lovely surprise from my mother for Christmas! While Mortuary Confidential is nowhere as salacious or shocking as it intended to be, it does have a very Chicken Soup for the X Soul vibe, and I really liked that. Some stories made me chuckle, some made me want to sob - there were definitely some very poignant moments. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the behind the scenes of the funeral industry or who is interested in the slightly macabre.
Apr 27, 2015 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology
I do not mind reading books about the dead - non-fiction or fiction - it does not matter. I was disappointed with this book because I thought this book would be more than three page (towards the end of the book there are longer chapters but still...) antidotes from numerous undertakers various experiences. I guess I did not do enough research as I thought I would have a long stories about the experiences of these authors.
Jan 18, 2016 Anita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a funny, sometimes moving book. The sensitive subject of death is always treated with respect and delicacy.
My only issue with it it's that the stories are really short, so they feel underdeveloped at best, incomplete at worst. Personally I love long stories, lots of context and descriptions. It helps me to involve myself in the book. So, even tho I liked this book, I think that people who enjoy quick anecdotes or who don't really have much time to read are going to like it even more.
Kathleen Wolf Davis
Just a bit dull

I know these are personal stories, but they could all use a good editor. Rather than really sharing details and truths of the industry, you get a lot of rather dull "the hearse broke down" and "chicks don't dig dudes who work at funeral homes" stories. If your boring friend of a friend worked in the death biz, he'd tell you these tales at happy hour, and you'd be thinking how you hadn't nearly enough to drink. Read "Stiff: The curious life of human cadavers" instead.
Kara Weir kelly
It was a humorous book, which I was not expecting. I didn't like it for that reason. Also, I thought it would get more into mortuary science and not so much the experience of morticians with families and the dead. Medical personnel experience that every day and it is not exclusive to morticians. Blah.
Phillip Elliott
Aug 30, 2014 Phillip Elliott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book. It is a collection of stories about the mortuary service. Some stories were very funny. A couple of the stories were very touching. Todd Harra managed to collect a great selection of stories that made for a great book. I liked the collection and I am happy I read it.
I was misled into thinking that it would be a side-splitting macabre collection of stories, but I found that when I re-told some of the funnier stories to people I knew, that I did a better job of presenting it as entertainment than the way that it was written. Many of the stories are heartfelt, but few are shockingly funny. I think that part of the problem is the way it was introduced as being a slapstick piece of work, not to mention the cover that bears the legend on the bumpersticker which s ...more
Oct 01, 2014 Tricia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a great cross-section of stories from morticians around the country ranging from funny to touching or sad. The book was advertised as sidesplittingly funny, it wasn't, ever. It was, an interesting look inside the world and morticians.
Douglas Castagna
This had the potential to be really good. I was more entertained watching reruns of Six Feet Under. While some anecdotes were cute, and somewhat funny, I found the collection lacking. I do not know what I expected, but I expected more.
Heidi Miller
Occasionally I like to mix in a kind of a quirky, humorous book. I was surprised at the mixture of sensitive, thoughtful, hilarious and just plain crazy stories. I didn't realize morticians are on call 24/7. It really did make me have an even greater appreciation for our mortician, who by the way i do have on my speed dial and I do consider a very good friend). I know they have a very demanding job and they take great care with our loved ones and help us through some very challenging times.
It w
Precy Larkins
Not as funny as the blurb makes it out to be, but some stories are heartfelt or riveting, which I liked. I like quirky books, and this one--which is really a collection of anecdotes--entertained me.
Jan 02, 2016 Dev rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great little book with varied stories from life in the funeral business. There are stories to make you laugh, appreciate, and cry. Read this book and you will love your family even more!!!
Leslie Oniki
Aug 29, 2015 Leslie Oniki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read

Having been in the business as well, enjoyed well written stories about experiences of other people. Funny and touching, just like the funeral industry.
DK Hoffman
Nov 04, 2014 DK Hoffman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-ficiton
I was expecting something more similar to Mary Roach's "Stiff". This fell short of that, so I was a little dissapointed. But I think it was more my expectations than the book itself.
Aug 08, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It wasn't quite what I expected. I guess I thought the stories would be funnier, more gruesome or more poignant. It was worth reading but was a slow read.
Aug 21, 2012 Jarrod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, I am attracted to the macabre, so this book is right up my alley. My view is bias. Second, although this book is not awe-inspiring, makes me want to change the world by changing myself, (or anything along those lines), it was a good book and worth the full price.

Another feature I enjoyed about this book is that due to the many little stories, it is a great reader for a guy who gets breaks at work. 15 minute break? No problem, 2-3 stories done.
Some stories you grow sympathy with the ch
Christina Alessi
Overall, it was entertaining. Since its a compilation with many different authors, some stories were better than others. Eh.
Debra B.
Dec 13, 2015 Debra B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It was a subject I knew nothing about, told in a readable, lighthearted, entertaining manner.
Jun 29, 2014 Sadie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, the stories were funny, some light hearted some serious. I wish there had been more and more in depth.
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Goodreads Post 2 1 3 Oct 14, 2014 08:55PM  
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