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The Wooden Overcoat by Pamela Branch
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The Wooden Overcoat (1951)

by Pamela Branch

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I was laughing uproariously. What a caper! Pamela Branch is a genius. Thank you Rue Morgue Press for bringing her back into print. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
The Asterisk Club is a home for murderers who were acquitted. Newly released Benji Cann finds himself living with the artistic couples next door when there is not room for him at the club. When bodies (including Cann's) begin to turn up, both homes find themselves trying to hide the corpses. The emphasis is on comedy rather than mystery. Unfortunately, I don't think I was in the mood for this sort of book at the time I read it, and it didn't work all that well for me. I did recognize that it would be loved by persons who enjoy farces as well as many mystery lovers. ( )
  thornton37814 | Jun 21, 2012 |
In most mysteries, when an amateur is confronted with a dead body, he or she spends the rest of the novel looking for clues to identify the culprit. Not in this mystery! Miscommunication, suspicion, and false assumptions lead to absurdity as two couples who share a house try to hide the bodies of the strangers who are making a habit of dying on their premises. The corpses have something in common. They were members of the Asterisk Club next door, with a membership roll filled with wrongly-acquitted murderers. The story is as much farce as it is mystery, and it's full of black humor. It's the sort of book you don't want to put down once the action starts. It's the perfect book for an afternoon or evening escape. ( )
2 vote cbl_tn | Apr 30, 2011 |
Love, love, love it. Witty, ghoulish, intelligent, hilarious. ( )
  Riyale | Mar 15, 2011 |
This book started off kind of slow. Benjamin Cain was just acquitted of murder. He's adjusting to life outside of prison and thinking about what to do next when a stranger approaches and invites him to lunch at his club.

Cain enjoys his meal at the Asterisk Club until he learns that all the members there are also acquitted murderers - at least one charged with multiple murderers. He begins to wonder if the soup tasted a little off.

His new friend finds him a room in a boarding house just next door to the club. After one night in the house, his new landlady discovers Cain - dead.

As I said, the book got off to a slow start, and I was almost ready to give in. Then it started getting interesting. Then not much later, it got funny. Then it got completely hilarious! In a dark way, all right, but still - hilarious. An unexpectedly great read. ( )
  cmbohn | Jan 11, 2009 |
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