A disgraced reporter who returns home to work at her family’s funeral parlor runs into even more fatalities than the job provides.
After a hot mic incident gets Desiree Turner fired from her job at KLVX TV, she slinks home to Verbena, a tiny town outside Sacramento, to lick her wounds. There’s plenty of room for her in the spacious digs atop the Turner Family Funeral Home, where her Uncle Joey, sister Donna, and brother-in-law Greg already live. And since her father’s recent death in a surfing accident, there’s plenty for her to do downstairs at the mortuary, especially when pregnant Donna gets put on bed rest and can’t run the funeral services. Nor is there any lack of old friends to welcome her back. She and best gal pal Jasmine meet up for drinks at Tappiano’s, and Luke Butler still calls her Death Ray, a nickname she’s resented since elementary school. Rafe Valdez even offers her a job on the Verbena Free Press. But Desiree’s attention is focused on clearing her late father’s best friend, Kyle Hansen, who’s accused of gunning down banker Alan Brewer, which may be related to a squabble over the death of Vincent, Brewer’s pet emu. Desiree’s not entirely sure the Hansens are responsible for Vincent’s untimely demise, but she’s more than sure that Kyle didn’t kill Alan. Persuading Luke Butler, now Verbena’s police chief, may take all of Desiree’s skills as a newshound, with a little bit of mortician thrown in.
Bell’s debut is a worthy addition to the "home again" corner of the cozy world, with enough wit and moxie to warrant a return appearance.