Author Rating: A-

Tim Cockey writes humorous mystery fiction. So far they all feature Hitchcock Sewell as the protagonist. Cockey also writes noir-ish detective fiction under the pseudonym Richard Hawke.

Sewell is a solver of mysteries and every woman’s hot dream — tall, good looking, with a sense of humor and a steady, if somewhat creepy, job. He’s an undertaker. Sort of by default but an undertaker nonetheless.

Cockey handles the parts of the back story that are necessarily repeated in each book very nicely, providing different insights into the character of HS. In lesser authors, these bits can make reading more than two or three of their books very tiresome.

The Hearse Case Scenario (read 4/10/09) Recommended

Very entertaining. Murder mystery set in Baltimore, Maryland. Third novel by Cockey. Hitchcock Sewel’s childhood friend Lucy is accused of murdering her boyfriend in his hospital bed where he was after she shot him.

The Hearse You Came In On (read 4/26/09) Recommended

This is Tim Cockey‘s first published novel (and, of course, the first “Hearse” mystery). A woman comes into the funeral home to arrange her own funeral but she’s not who she says she is. The person she claimed to be turns up dead. And someone is blackmailing the police commissioner who wants more than anything to be elected governor. A bit darker than The Hearse Case Scenario, it is an entertaining and intelligent read.

Hearse of a Different Color (read 5/1/09) Recommended

This is the second “Hearse” mystery. Even though it is not necessary, I would recommend reading these in order of publication. Reading them in order would give you, I think, a slightly enhanced experience. Someone dumps a woman’s fresh corpse on the funeral home porch while a wake is underway inside. Who is she and why, other than convenience, would someone dump her there.

Backstabber (read 5/21/09) recommended

Surprise! No “hearse” in the title but the series continues with Hitchcock Sewell out to solve more crimes. HS gets a very early morning call, after a very late night out. An old friend wants him to help get rid of the murdered husband of the friend’s girlfriend. While at a nursing home to pick up a “customer,” HS crosses paths with an elderly woman whose husband owned a diner where HS and his friends hung out when he was a kid.