cover image Secret Remains: A Coroner’s Daughter Mystery

Secret Remains: A Coroner’s Daughter Mystery

Jennifer Graeser Dornbush. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64385-122-8

Set in Freeport, Mich., Dornbush’s middling second Coroner’s Daughter mystery (after 2018’s The Coroner) opens on a dramatic note with the fatal heart attack of surgeon Emily Hartford’s medical examiner father, who’s barely in the ground when Emily gets a call from Sheriff Nick Larson. Nick, who wants to rekindle their high school romance, asks her to examine some bones unearthed by a construction crew. The subsequent autopsy reveals that the victim was Sandi Parkman, a teen last seen a decade earlier, and it’s clear from the “blunt-force trauma to the neck, right ribs, and skull” that Sandi was murdered. When Nick is arrested for the crime, Emily vows to find the real killer, aided by, among others, former FBI agent Delia Andrews, who now owns the town’s best bakery. Unfortunately, Emily’s problems define her character, not her response to those problems. Take them away, and she’s a complete zero. This entry reads like a cozy with autopsies, minus the sense of fun. Agent: Julie Gwinn, Seymour Agency. (Jan.)