Over My Dead Body: James Callan
Some expressions can come back and bite you in the face. Syd was angry when a land developer decided to target his property to build new coops and condos. Syd was adamant about not giving in and wanting to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court of Texas. Syd Cranzler was going to make sure that Lockey corporation did not get his land and meeting with those involved he told them before they left that they would get the land OVER MY DEAD BODY! Little did Syd know there was truth in that statement?
Father Frank did not believe for one minute that Syd committed suicide and investigating the murder along with parishioner Georgia would hopefully get him some answers. The police chief chalked it up to suicide but Father Frank hounded the detective in charge until something would give. Seeking out Syd’s pharmacist and doctor he found some answers that supported his theory. Remembering how he took his nephew for ice cream the possible way the extra digoxin pills found their way into Syd’s body. “Dig toxin is derived from the leaves of a digitalis plant. Digoxin helps make the heart beat stronger and with a more regular rhythm.
Dig toxin is used to treat heart failure. Dig toxin is also used to treat atrial fibrillation. Heart rhythm disorder of the atria (the upper chambers of the heart that allow blood to flow into the hea” http://www.drugs.com/digoxin.html. As the explanations come about and Syd’s doctor explains the dosage needed to kill someone Father Frank learns it would take 10 dig toxin pills to take a life in one hour and placing it in chocolate would mask the bitter taste of the medicine. But, when the case if finally reopened why is Father Frank on the suspect list and why does the Monsignor think that he is about to inherit a lot of money from Syd’s estate?
Someone is out to silence the Father and does not want him to use what Syd left the church. As the will is read and the relatives hear their bequests the reactions are varied and some quite startling. As Judith his sister tries to temper her husband Lance’s reaction and Randall is chosen as the trustee for her bequest others find themselves in different positions but when the bequest to the parish is made things start to heat up.
While the police have decided to give Detective Mike Markey the go ahead to investigate Syd’s death as a possible murder he and his girlfriend Georgia come to odds about the procedures. Not understanding that Mike is a police officer and information is classified she often goes off on tangents, gets angry, investigates on her own and the pot boils over many times.
With Syd’s death in question, Duke Heinz from Lockey pressuring the Father to sign over the land, the mineral rights and more, someone out there wants to expedite matters in a different way. But, events come to light that prove that the judge who signed the eminent domain order might have profited just from his signature. Another might be Heinz who never tells the people he strong arms into signing away their land that the term Fee simple means you signed away your mineral rights too. Fee simple is defined as: “Fee simple ownership is the highest form of property ownership available. While fee simple ownership traces its lineage back to feudal England, it is still used in modern real estate all over the world. Fee simple ownership entitles owners to certain rights that are not available with other forms of property ownership. Additionally, fee simple owners retain possession of their property permanently.” http://homeguides.sfgate.com/fee-simple-ownership-mean-57263.html” When Father Frank questioned several people about the contracts that they were going to sign or have signed they had no idea what fee simple meant. Would this change things for them?
While Mark Oakley delves into the case more and tries to learn more about Syd why some thought he was great while others thought he was not what Father Frank believed, Georgia was poking around, invited Syd’s family for dinner and the end result was anything but good. With Father Frank’s sister Maggie creating her own commotion, needing his guidance about a personal matter plus trying to help solve the intrigue behind Syd’s death author James Callan creates a list of suspects that readers will have to decide just who is guilty and why. As Georgia and the Father’s sister decide to take action and find their way to the judge’s house, someone will try to strong -arm them both in order to scare them off. But, the killer lurks. The judge had someone buy him rat poison and the reasons for his sudden wealth have yet to be revealed. Was he paid off to sign the eminent domain order? Did someone leave him some money? Did he win a small lottery? This judge is powerful and when his gardener speaks to Georgia the end result will surprise readers.
When Detective Mike Oakley and Harry Sacs decide to garbage dip in someone’s trash what they find sends them in a different direction and hopefully uncover who tried to kill the Father. Someone hit him over the head with a wooden board, laced his half and half with cyanide. But, as the evidence piles up the Father has a plan to trap one killer and possibly a second. A skeptical police chief that wants solid evidence, a detective whose job just might be on the line, a witness that comes forward and identifies a killer but not before someone comes up close and personal with a dangerous killer. Just who wanted to kill Syd and why? Who thought that he was cheated and needed to enact revenge? Just who wanted to kill Father Frank and why? Lies, betrayals, threats, conspiracies, fraud, family disloyalties, contracts that were not clearly spelling out and a Priest whose deductive reasoning, methodical thinking and persistence would not stop until the killers were in jail.
A book filled with humor, characters that will remind you of the sheriff in Cabot Cove and Jessica Fletcher always investigating even though they did not want her poking her nose into things all the time. With a touch of Ms. Marple and a pinch of Hetty Winthrop author James Callan has created characters that I am sure he will bring back. Father Frank is quite interesting yet Georgia at times oversteps her boundaries not realizing that Mike has rules to follow and she cannot always interfere with his job. Will she come to realize that? Will the get together and find a common ground? Find out when you read the next Father Frank mystery. Father Frank and Georgia hope to uncover the murderers and preferably not Over Their Dead Bodies!
Fran Lewis: just reviews