This third installment of the Tally Whyte series (The Dead Stone, Body Parts) begins with a very bad day for Stiefel's steadfast heroine: her dog is being tested for cancer, her mom is hospitalized with the flu, and someone has broken into her office—and delivered a murdered little girl. Though corpses aren't exactly out of the ordinary in Massachusetts's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner—the "Grief Shop" where Tally directs the state's Grief Assistance Program—this victim was somehow secreted into the secure facility by her killer, suggesting that one of the Grief Shop's own is involved. The only clues to the girl's death are a message written on her palm in marker—"Sins of the Father"—and a toy lamb left behind after someone knocks Tally cold in the OCME's decomposition room. Already feeling the rigors of her grim job wearing at her resolve, Tally is rocked by the mystery and the possibility of a criminal among her colleagues—and it doesn't help that her out-of-commission mother is also her boss, the chief medical examiner.
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Tally Whyte has seen a lot of dead bodies in her years with the Massachusetts Grief Assistance Program, but this is the first time a murder victim has been brought there by the murderer himself.