Review: Casket Cache, A Spencer Funeral Home Niagara Cozy Mystery Book 1

Janice J. Richardson

Available on: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Blurb: Being surrounded by dead bodies every day isn’t for everyone. Jennifer inherited a funeral parlor and a bit of mischief beyond that! Break-ins, and funerals, and Tim Horton’s, oh my!

Trigger Warnings:

Blackmail, Dead Bodies, Death, Gambling, Gun Violence, Murder

Body Count: many, as there is not one but two funeral parlors involved.

The Specs:

  • Series 
    • Series Name: A Spencer Funeral Home Niagara Cozy Mystery
    • Book Number: 1 of 4
  • Genre
    • Technical Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Contemporary Women’s Fiction
    • Theo Genre: Cozy Mystery, Feminist Fiction
  • Page count: 292 pages; 1023 KB
  • POV: Unlimited 3rd
  • Publication information:
    • Publisher: Janice J. Richardson
    • Language:  English
    • ASIN: B01IYHOC8G

Other Fun Stuff:

To Read or Not To Read (Again):


Rating out of five: 4.0 out of 5

Representation, Morality, and Sexism Tests:

  • Bechdel–Wallace Test
    • Purpose: to establish actual female characters that act independently of male characters in a story.
      • Do two female characters talk about something other than a male character? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • DuVernay Test:
    • Purpose: to establish characters of color in a story.
      • Are there fully actualized characters of color? Unknown
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Ellen Willis Test:
    • Purpose: to show balance in characters regardless of gender.
      • Would two related characters still work to carry the story if their genders were reversed? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Hays Code Test:
    • Purpose: to ignore outdated and queer-degrading/punishing standards that once were the standard for produced mass media.
    • Part One: outdated moral guidelines
      • Are there any outdated “moral content” rules gloriously kicked in the teeth by this story? No
      • Are there people of color allowed a happy ending? No
      • Is there an interracial couple? No
      • Is there profanity used at all? No
      • Is there one or more homicidal acts and/or murder? Yes
    • Part Two: queer representation
      • Are there queer characters that get a happy ending? No
      • Is there an illegal or otherwise distasteful age gap between characters, queer or otherwise? No
      • Do the queer characters die tragically, violently, or at all? No
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Mako Mori Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that in the story there is at least one female character independent of a male character’s story.
      • Is there a female character? Yes
      • Does she get her own arc? Yes
      • Does it do anything other than serve to support a man’s story? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Sexy Lamp Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that a female character in the story serves as an active protagonist, not just a device to be used by the male main character.
      • Would the plot fall apart if the female character was replaced by a sexy looking lamp? Yes
    • Post-It Note Caveat:
      • Would the character be able to be replaced by a Sexy Lamp with a sticky note on it for information conveyance? No
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Tauriel Test:
    • Purpose: to help support the existence of competent, independent female characters regardless of a romantic sub-plot.
      • Is there at least one woman in the story? Yes
      • Is this woman competent in her chosen occupation and not immediately shown up by a newcomer male character? Yes
      • If she has or develops a love interest during the story, either implied or explicitly stated, does she suddenly abandon her job and/or chosen path to support or pursue said love interest?  No
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Vito Russo Test:
    • Purpose: to establish more characters that are on the SAGA (Sexuality And Gender Acceptance), QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) or LGBTQIAP+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual/Biromantic/Bigender, Transgender, Queer/Genderqueer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, Pansexual/Panromantic, and others not listed here) spectrum.
      • Is there a character on the queer spectrum? Not that I recall.
      • Are they a character beyond their orientation? No
      • Do they actually affect the plot? Not applicable
      • Is the character something beyond a punchline? Not applicable
    • Pass or Fail: Fail

Overall review:

Thoughts: While I wouldn’t re-read it, I would absolutely read more of series. It was an entertaining read

Was it engaging?


Review format updated 5 March 2019

One thought on “Review: Casket Cache, A Spencer Funeral Home Niagara Cozy Mystery Book 1

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