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|Martin nodded. "Occipital blunt force trauma resulting in|
cardiopulmonary collapse due to massive brainstem injury,
presumably the result of falling from the bridge onto the back
of the head..."
"Hi, Matin," I said, and from the terrified expression on his
face I could see that he'd heard me again, or at least somehow
sensed me, because when I write here that I "say" something,
this of course has nothing to do with the production of sound
waves, since for that one obviously needs vocal cords. Mine,
however, were cut up into little pieces inside the dissected
throat of the mincemeat corpse in Morgue Drawer 4.
By Jutta Profijt
Translated by Erik J. Macki
I'm not a fan of a lot of "humor" thrown out these days, however, I was totally "into" Jutta Profijt's brand in her novel Morgue Drawer Four. Imagine a great stand-up comic spouting totally relevant one-liners...seemingly for the entire time it takes you to read a book. Of course, the comic was a ghost--a recently deceased car thief and he was not happy to wind up living in a morgue drawer...
And the straight man for the comedy? None other than a coroner--the coroner who had his "client" speak to him just at the point when he was about to be relieved of a very important part of his body... "Dude, get your monkey beaters off my...!" had been roared with the greatest urgency! Martin would never be the same!
And, of course, neither was "Pascha, the guy in Morgue Draw Four."
You may have guessed by now that Pascha's death was not accidental, although the autopsy findings would lead to that conclusion. But Pascha had been pushed and quickly concluded that he was there to stay until the mystery of his murder was solved...
It had all started when he had been contracted to steal a certain type of car. As always, he was busily searching the car for anything he could take and later sell. But opening the trunk, he had discovered a woman, a naked, dead body... Deciding to ignore the potential future surprise for the customer, Pascha had gone on to deliver the car.
Now he was dead... And he needed Martin to help him find the killer.
At this point on, readers will be pulled into the usual investigation for finding a criminal--usual, that is, if a medical examiner and a ghost are usually involved in such investigations... In fact, Martin was not happy with anything that was happening, but was intelligent enough to realize that helping might be the only way to ultimately have Pascha leave!
Let me just say that Pascha had Martin traveling into many dangerous parts of the city and there was not much Pascha could do to help when Martin got into tough, dangerous situations. I don't know how it all continued to have a humorous twist to it, but it did! Martin might be the typical scientific genius that is excellent at his job; however, tracking down car thieves and potential murderers is something he would never undertake on his own. Still, he proved to be committed and almost brave in his actions.
An interesting little sideline activity was that Pascha started "learning" from Martin about not only forensics but even basic grammar and language skills, so much so that something like a partnership, though weird, did form between the two! Martin even was willing to turn on the television at the morgue and leave it so that Pascha had something to do during the long night...
I'm hoping that even though his own murder has since been solved that Pascha stays around and Martin gets involved in future adventures! This wise-cracking ghost and forensics phenomenon make a dynamic due unlike any other and I, for one, would love to meet them again in the future! Highly recommended!
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