Thursday, December 4, 2014

Jane Bennett Munro Presents Death By Autopsy: A Toni Day Mystery!

I was going to die. I knew it. The only question was whether I'd drown first or freeze to death first. I'd had close calls before. I'd been poisoned, trapped in the basement of a burning house, and chased down the Snake River by a gun-toting madwoman. But this was different. Nobody was threatening me this time. It was just my own pigheadedness that had gotten me into this situation.
That's what I got for trying to be a Good Samaritan. I'd been on my way home...
I climbed up on the concrete abutment. From there I could see the car. The back end of it stuck up out of the water. The snow on the bank was deep enough to keep me from sliding into the canal. This gave me the confidence to keep on going until I reached the back bumper of the car. I put my hand on it to help me keep my balance while I made my way down toward the driver's door. Suddenly the car shifted and slid all the way into the water with a splash. And I went right in after it.
Whereupon every muscle in my body immediately went into overdrive. The breath whooshed out of me. I gasped and whooped, struggling to keep my head above water, and after approximately a century, I realized that I didn't need to struggle after all. My feet actually touched bottom, and the water was not actually over my head. Taking a huge breath, I ducked my head under the water and opened my eyes. The water was so murky that I could barely see the car, even though the current had plastered me right up against it.
Well, now it was more imperative than ever that I get the passengers out of the car. With water in the canal, they could drown before anyone could rescue them. What the hell was water doing in the canal in March, anyway? Normally they don't release water into the canals until late April...

Death by Autopsy:
A Toni Day Mystery

By Jane Bennett Munro

"Anyway, neither of those rumors is true.
I'm sure she spread lots of rumors like that
about other people, because that's what
she does. Did. But I don't pay any attention
to gossip--it's not my thing--and that's hardly
a reason to kill a person, anyway."
"Oy vey," Hall muttered..."You took an
awful chance, you know," Hal said.
"I know that," I said. "Are you telling me
that I shouldn't have even tried to save
her? That I should have just stood by and
waited for search and rescue to show up?"
"That's what most people would have
I threw up my hands. " I may as well have
done just that, for all the good I did."

It wasn't hard to picture Toni Day--she's a brainiac that cannot help by speak in intelligent, technical terms regarding her cases... She's a pathologist... but then carries it over into daily life as well. She has a sly sense of humor which you have to watch for in between the medical terms she discusses as she performs her duties, including doing autopsies when necessary.

Although she happened to be the individual who had discovered a car accident and had tried to free the passenger, she was quite willing to talk about her once she found out who it had been...

"Beulah Pritchard."
"Beulah Pritchard, really? Good riddance," Hall said. "Couldn't have happened to a nicer person."
"Who's Beulah Pritchard?" asked Mum.
"She's a nurse at the hospital," I said...
Beulah, a short, plump, blonde with washed-out blue eyes behind smudgy spectacles, had a pug nose and round, red cheeks, and she always gave the impression that she was a warm and friendly person. That is, until she opened her mouth. She reminded me of a dog that wagged its tail and smiled at you until you got close enough for it to bite you...
I've known her a long time," I said, "but I wouldn't say I know her well. She was a swizzle stick. She liked to stir u trouble. She went around starting rumors. She started a rumor that I was having an affair with one of the doctors, and his wife found out about it and threatened to divorce him. She also went around saying that Hal and I were having trouble and might get divorced...

"The body is that of a 58-year-old, well-nourished
well developed, unembalmed female, 62 inches
in height and weighing approximately...oh, what
would you say, Natalie? One eighty? Two
Beulah's body, when I touched it, was icy cold.
She had apparently gone directly from the
canal to the emergency room, where she'd been
pronounced dead, and then to the morgue,
where she had been stored in the cooler ever
"Good," I said. "Let's get started." I reached
to pick up my scalpel, but something held me
back. I looked down. Beulah's fingers were
tangled in my apron strings. "What the hell?"
I muttered as I put the scalpel back on the
"What's wrong?" Natalie asked, moving
closer to me.
"Beulah's got hold of my apron strings," I told
her with a nervous laugh. I tried to untangle
them, but Beulah seemed to have a death grip
on them. "Beulah! Let go of me!" I said,
Beulah let go...

Toni Day had first tried to save a life when she had come across a car accident but had not been able to get to the driver of the car. 

Later she does save her life when, as she began to conduct an autopsy, she realized that the woman, Beulah Pritchard, was not dead! She got her back into the emergency room, and they worked to save her; however, she did die several days later...

Toni Day...and the hospital...are now being sued for "Death by Autopsy..." By the fraternal twin sister of Beulah...

Now, during the time that the body had been on Day's autopsy table, she did draw blood... Without going into all the medical stuff you'll learn about this, Toni realized that this one action "could" have led to her death, if...

So, of course, she gets totally involved in solving the case...again... At least she had a personal reason, right?!

It gets really complicated fast, since it was apparent that somewhere along the way, Beulah had been murdered....

In the meantime, however, on the day that Beulah had been hurried back to the ER, Toni is called to do another autopsy...Beulah's husband, Dwayne, had been found in the trunk of the car that Beulah had crashed... He had been dead before placed there...

Toni had been coming back from the airport on the day of the original accident, having just picked up her mother and her second husband, Nigel. It was later that Nigel came to talk to Toni privately, showing her his records and diagnosis for prostrate cancer.

The addition of the family being involved brought a much broader, interesting and warm perspective to the novel. Toni was cornered by her mother, as mother's do, each time she was going to be, or her mother thought she could be in trouble... Also, Nigel was retired from Scotland Yard, so everything that was happening with the case is digested and regurgitated once Toni went home each night. Because of this, readers get a much more heavy dose of medical jargon, procedures, and details than in many novels. So if you are a fan of medical thrillers, you'll especially enjoy this one. Myself, I was fully into the mystery of solving who did all the murders!

It got to be comical when, their next door neighbor, turned out to be the lawyer Toni talked to, in case she personally would have to respond to the legal suit... So, now readers have the details of the legal side of the murder case...all while everybody is eating pizza! Geesh!

And then attempts on Toni's life starts! What's really going on?!

Now there's one tiny clue somewhere here on this page that just might help you guess what the issue is... Let me know if you figure it out and feel free to ask me more! LOL  In the meantime, I suggest you do check this twisting, turning mystery out and have fun along with Toni as she gets close enough that now her life is being threatened! Enjoy!


Jane Bennett Munro, author of the Toni Day series, featuring medical mystery and mayhem, with just a touch of pathological humor.

I'm a pathologist in a rural hospital in Twin Falls, Idaho, trained in Southern California. I worked my way through medical school as a medical technologist. I came to Twin Falls right out of residency, and was in a solo practice for 24 years before my hospital was purchased by the other one; now I have three partners. I'm 68, divorced, semi-retired, and live in Twin Falls with my best friend, Rhonda, and our cat, Henrietta.

I'm not a forensic pathologist, or a medical examiner; but in Idaho, the coroner is an elected position, and usually not even a doctor. So whenever a case comes along that the coroner thinks needs an autopsy, local pathologists are called upon. During my years of solo practice, while the county hospital did coroner's cases for Twin Falls County, I did coroner's cases for the surrounding five counties. So even as a general hospital-based pathologist, I have gotten some forensic experience.

In the last 36 years, I've had some pretty interesting experiences and seen some pretty strange things. Some of them would make great stories.

They form the basis of what has become the Toni Day Mystery series.

Check out BRH review of Murder Under The Microscope

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