cover image The Skeleton Makes a Friend

The Skeleton Makes a Friend

Leigh Perry. Diversion, $14.99 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-63576-444-4

Whodunits don’t come much funnier than Perry’s suspenseful fifth mystery featuring “an ambulatory skeleton named Sid” (after 2017’s The Skeleton Paints a Picture). More than two decades earlier, Sid showed up at the home of the Thackery family and moved in, in the process becoming the best friend of Georgia Thackery, who’s now an adjunct instructor at an enrichment program for high school students at New Hampshire’s Overfield College. A nauseating smell coming from a college administrative office prompts Georgia and Sid to break into the office, where they find a corpse stabbed in the throat with an unusual blade. Flash back five days. Georgia and Sid get involved in a mystery that many readers will suspect is connected with their future grim discovery—the disappearance of a player in an online fantasy game that Sid participates in. Georgia’s travails at Overfield, which include an unpleasant encounter with a legendary, condescending pedagogue, help flesh out her character. In one humorous aside, after Sid dives into the lake outside Georgia’s cabin, she comments: “Since he doesn’t breathe, there’s no limit to how long he can stay at the bottom of the lake; his meatless physique doesn’t appeal to any fish that might swim by looking for a snack; and without skin, he doesn’t have to worry about getting pruney.” Perry doesn’t bother to explain how Sid can walk, talk, and text, but that omission, impressively, isn’t a barrier to engagement. Fans of offbeat comic mysteries will be richly rewarded. [em]Agent: Lisa Rodgers, JABberwocky Literary. (Nov.) [/em]