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The Bone ManThe Grief Shop • The Dead Stone • Body Parts

THE BONE MAN

Feeling at sea with her professional and personal life, homicide counselor Tally Whyte is slapped with a conundrum: a skull found in an ancient Anasazi pot appears to be that of her good friend, Delphine.
That mystery, combined with a brutal murder close to home sends Tally on her most dangerous and daring quest yet.
In this, Tally's fourth outing, she travels to Martha's Vineyard and to New Mexico, where she's been offered a job with the New Mexico medical examiner's office. It's there, that her hunt for a killer heats up, particularly since she seems to be the newest object of the killer's intentions.

The Bone Man: Chapter One

More than 365 days had passed since Veda died. One whole year had flown by since my foster mother, the only mother I’d ever known, left this earth. I still didn’t understand her death. Not at all.
Where had she gone? How could that vibrant a person just vanish, poof?
A friend said that energy never disappears. It just takes another form. I liked believing that. On good days, I did.
In the past year, I’d left MGAP, the Massachusetts Grief Assistance Program I’d founded. I’d ignored the invitation to create a grief assistance program in New Mexico. I’d also tabled a similar position from the state of Maine.
Instead, I’d hung out.
Ah, you’re thinking that I was so sunk in grief that depression held me prisoner.
Wrong!
In fact, with the substantial sum of money and property left to me by Veda,...

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THE GRIEF SHOP, Third in the Tally Whyte homicide counselor Series

Publishers Weekly review of THE GRIEF SHOP:
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.
Tally is a compelling protagonist—edgy, compassionate and vulnerable—with a clipped narrating style that keeps the tricky plot in focus.
Stiefel's latest shows—again—that she can hold her own against genre heavyweights like John Sanford and Patricia Cornwell.
(Sept.) Copyright 1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The Grief Shop: Chapter One

I hate going to the vet and Penny hates it worse than I do. I practically have to drag my three-legged former Canine Corps dog, leash taut, coaxing her all the way with doggie treats through the infirmary door. Then I feel guilty when I tug too hard and ...
But this time was different. This time, I was scared. Penny had a lump, a giant one that seemed to have sprung up overnight. The thing was round and hard and the size of a golf ball. It sat right on the elbow joint of her front leg.
What if...? No. My three-legged pooch had been through enough. This had to be nothing, a cyst or from a cat scratch or an abscess.
My Penny couldn’t live with two legs.
"C'mon, Pens," I said.
I turned the cold knob that led to Dr. Joby’s waiting room.

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THE DEAD STONE, Tally Whyte's Second Mystery, which takes Tally from Boston to Maine

THE DEAD STONE: Chapter One

Eight thirty a.m., and I was running late. My pumps clacked on the asphalt, as did Penny’s nails. Even on three legs, she loped ahead of me, always on guard, ever vigilant. The door to Boston’s Medical Examiner's office swung open easily, and I barreled into a wall of wet, hot air.
"Crap!" I said.
Penny stood poised, instantly alert.
"It's okay, girl." Not that it was. The Grief Shop’s air conditioner in its "public" areas—the Massachusetts Grief Assistance Program’s offices, Crime Scene Services offices, and the lobby—was on the fritz again. Backstage, where medical examiners slice corpses, and bodies wait patiently in refrigerated rooms and techs prep the remains of loved ones—those A/C units work beautifully. Since we had no A/C in MGAP on this unseasonably broiling June day, I could only hope that my coworkers and counselees were in exceptionally tolerant moods.
Not likely.

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BODY PARTS, Homicide Counselor Tally Whyte's first outing, takes place in Boston, where Tally hunts a serial killer.

Body Parts: Chapter One
My ancient Grand Wagoneer skidded as I hooked a right into the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's parking lot. I skated across the lot, the wind snaking beneath my down coat, as I fantasized about hiking flower-filled hills on a steamy summer day. That got me through the side door and into the warm.
I was late. I'd missed the daily staff meeting at nine, the MGAP meeting I'd called at ten, and the autopsy I'd planned to attend, which was scheduled for eleven.
Starved, I chomped down on a pistachio muffin while I shrugged out of my coat and slipped off my Bean boots. I tossed Kim Ito's file on the desk. She was the reason I was late. Meeting with her had been worth it--had it ever--but I'd play catch-up for the rest of the day.
I freshened Penny's water. She's my pal, my bud, my confidant, and a three-legged German shepherd who's a former Canine Corps police dog. I gave Pen a pat and a treat, waved at the MGAP counselors in our central office, and flew into my noon group session.
"Hey," I said.
Arlo pulled his harmonica from his pressed overalls and blew a melancholy tune. Like always, Christy waved "hello" with one of her red braids. Mary and Donna, our two associate counselors, looked relieved, probably because Roland Blessing was being a pain in the ass, per usual. Blessing glowered before he gave me his back.
"How goes it, all?" I said to the group.
"Why do you always start with that?" Blessing said.
"I'm open to suggestions, Roland."
Blessing sat soldier-straight, face tight with anger, running a hand across his thin pomaded hair. "Ya know, I'm the only bloke that's forced to be here. It sucks."

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