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There was a book within last 18 months or so with the following characteristics:

  • The main character was an undertaker and possibly a necromancer, and also a crossdresser
  • He had a serial killer as assistant
  • Another staff member was a female mermaid
  • There was a competing undertaker in the town
  • There was lots of humor, and some mysterious deaths
  • It probably wasn't released by famous authors/publishers
  • I found it through an online review blog, probably "fantasy book critic" or "graeme's fantasy review"

1 Answer 1

7

Ok, after some googling, I finally remembered the name. It's A Festival of Skeletons, by RK Astruc and Kay T. Holt.

cover of "A Festival of Skeletons", showing six people standing. The man in the middle is wearing a pink dress

Synopsis

When Kamphor's west end sees a series of prostitutes murdered, its citizens are fearful that a serial killer known as the Knife has returned. But the mortician Sink, owner of Kamphor's finest morgue, doesn't believe that the Knife has resumed killing - and he'd prove it, if his former student and current hateful rival Damien Torvault wasn't getting in the way.

Sink and his two apprentices, handsome-if-loony Joshua Finkle and merkind Vona Urgarth, investigate the murders on their own. Sink's ability to tell exactly when and how a person will die just by touching them earns him no friends, but it does yield some interesting clues - as does Sink's other gift. The one which incites him to wear women's clothing.

The investigation is further complicated when Joshua's time is taken up running a 15-Step program, and Vona becomes intrigued by a repugnant yet strangely irresistible cook. Even Sink's next-door neighbor, Policewoman Arifia Fowles, seems hell-bent on not just hindering Sink but arresting him, regardless of a crime.

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