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Dark Undertakings

(Drew Slocombe #1)

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  184 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Fifty-five-year-old Jim Lapsford makes an unusually healthy-looking corpse. A life-long devotee of vitamin pills and herbal remedies, it seems almost ironic that he has succumbed to a heart attack. His GP is convinced that this is the case but trainee undertaker Drew Slocombe isn't so sure and he is convinced that there is enough conflicting medical evidence to merit a ...more
Paperback, 510 pages
Published May 28th 2012 by Allison & Busby (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.34  · 
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 ·  184 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Pam Baddeley
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it
First in the Drew Slocombe series - I've only read the later volumes previously, when he encounters Thea Osborne and is gradually subsumed into the Cotswold series. In this opening volume, Drew is at the start of his sleuthing career and has been working for a few weeks at an undertaker's where he is the new boy, so is far off from starting his later struggling natural funeral business. Similarly, he and wife Karen are trying to start a family, whereas I've only seen him with his later family ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire

i've got really behind with updating around these parts. i remember enjoying this book, which is the first in a series featuring drew slocombe, the new boy at a funeral directors. obviously he's going to end up poking into the deaths he comes across in the business. i wasn't really convinced there was a series in this after this book but i did spend half the book saying "no drew, leave it alone, you'll only get yourself sacked, stop sticking your nose into things!" which is probably a sign of

Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 510

Publisher - Allison & Busby

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Fifty-five-year-old Jim Lapsford makes an unusually healthy-looking corpse. A life-long devotee of vitamin pills and herbal remedies, it seems almost ironic that he has succumbed to a heart attack. His GP is convinced that this is the case but trainee undertaker Drew Slocombe isn't so sure and he is convinced that there is enough conflicting medical evidence to merit a coroner's inquest at
Nov 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime, england
I'm glad I picked this book up for free. I keep seeing packs of her books and wondering. At least I can wonder no more. I've now read a Rebecca Tope book, and I wouldn't touch another with a barge pole. This was just dreadful. It drivelled on and felt like it would never end. The style of the book wasn't engaging at all, felt a bit muddled, and as though a few of the characters and conversations had been lumped in as filler. It starts off by throwing stacks of characters at you and continues ...more
Dec 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I originally picked this up for my mystery club's "Weddings and Funerals" month. Just now getting around to reading it. Only 1 chapter in and I like it.

For the most part I liked this mystery. I liked Drew and the other guys at the funeral home. I especially liked Roxanne and hope she'll be in future books in the series. The mystery was satisfying and I'm sure I'll read more by this author. My only complaint is that the book seemed unnecessarily long - perhaps 20% could've been cut to keep this
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was somehow surprised to enjoy this. It felt slow, yet In a very gentle and slow way I became very intrigued by the characters. Unusually I didn't worry about the story not moving on quickly, but felt immersed in the simple way the story developed as if I were there. Pleasantly surprised.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Undertaker and amateur sleuth Drew muddled his way through investigating a suspicious death in this cozy mystery.
Vicki Cantwell
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Day 6 of the 2016 Advent Calendar.

I liked the writing and the development of the characters and the small town/everybody connected theme. I'm interested to try other books by this author.
Shriti Chatterjee
Nov 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
I'm kind of berating myself for having picked up this book at all. The enticing cover promised a lot but 500+ pages are proof that it was all for naught.

The book's plot is awful. It is supposed to be a whodunnit but I was so tired of drudging through the chapters that I couldn't care less whether it was accidental death or pre-meditated murder.

Recommended to no one as it was one of my worst reads of this year.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book was OK, characters were OK. However plot was predictable and ending didn't surprise me.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Intricate small town mystery investigated by a trainee undertaker. It's very light, nobody swears, and we learn a bit about the undertaker's trade. I quite enjoyed it.
Mar 20, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
A man is found dead at home, in bed. The doctor signs the death certificate as it being a heart attack without doing an autopsy. So an undertaker, who is new to the town, decides that it wasn't a heart attack and takes it upon himself to prove that it was murder and to find out who did it.

This book confused me because NO ONE - not the family, his coworkers, the doctor, etc, no one wanted to find out if it was murder, even though they suspected. And the police weren't brought in to the
Bev Taylor
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the first drew slocombe mystery

drew has just started a new job as an undertaker after problems with his nursing career

jim, at 55 years old, is found dead in bed and the doctor says heart attack

h/e drew is not convinced. but nobody else agrees and he has to investigate on his own

the village is a very tight knit community with many secrets of it's own. not least jim's affairs, a dodgy doctor and drug dealings

a light read as usual with excellent characters

h/e there were a few loose end

Jul 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I have met Drew Slocombe in the Cotswold mysteries but this earlier glimpse of his life is interesting. It was intriguing to watch him discover his own passion for detective work as his instincts forced him to be the only one to question a seemingly natural death.
Katherine Coleman
Not one of her best. Really could get into it.
Good suspense (a little too much). Mixture of interesting and annoying. Main character is an undertaker, so a bit too much information about that.
Anne Marshall
Sep 01, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't finish
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Too slow. Halfway through we still hadn't decided if it was murder. Boring.
Apr 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Felt like I whipped through this book. Very enjoyable read and decent resolution to the story.
Jul 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
I never like to give up on a book but this one pushed me to my limits :-(
Swarna Meenaa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angela Perkins
An enjoyable read and nice to see a crime novel written from an original viewpoint. Will definitely read some more of Rebecca Tope's books.
Wendy Cuspinera
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Jan 24, 2016
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Dec 05, 2013
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May 16, 2017
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Sep 03, 2015
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Nov 09, 2016
Laura Affleck
rated it really liked it
Jul 03, 2018
jill davis
rated it it was amazing
Oct 22, 2016
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Rebecca Tope grew up on a farm and has held a wide variety of jobs, such as pre-natal instructor, marriage counselor, and funeral director, all of which have taught her a great deal about human nature. In 1992, she founded Praxis Books, a small British press.

Other books in the series

Drew Slocombe (5 books)
  • Grave Concerns (Drew Slocombe, #2)
  • The Sting of Death (Drew Slocombe, #3; Den Cooper, #4)
  • A Market for Murder (Drew Slocombe, #4)
  • A Grave in the Cotswolds (Drew Slocombe, #5; Thea Osborne, #8)