The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb

The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb

Book - 2014
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The historic New England village of Dorset has actually elected a living, breathing woman as its First Selectman. And now she's about to undertake the Historic District's biggest public works project in a generation-the widening and re-grading of Dorset Street. The job has needed doing for ages but the previous First Selectman, Bob Paffin, always opposed it. So did a lot of Dorset's blue-blooded old guard.

The long put-off dig uncovers a body buried underneath the pavement in front of the Congregational Church. It belongs to Lt. Lance Paffin, Bob Paffin's older brother, a dashing U.S. Navy flyer who went missing off his sailboat the night of the country club's spring dance more than forty years ago. Everyone had assumed he just left town. But now it's clear Lance has been under Dorset Street this whole time, and that he was murdered.

Des and Mitch soon discover that there are deep, dark secrets surrounding Dorset's elite, and some very distinguished careers have been built on lies. Coal Black Asphalt Tomb is the tenth in David Handler's original and very funny Berger and Mitry mystery series featuring this engaging biracial couple.

Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250041975
Characteristics: 232 pages ; 22 cm.


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Jun 27, 2017

I have found a new favourite to gobble up. Thoroughly modern, socially bold, highly intelligent, endearing characters. Who else would think of pairing up a size XXL doughboy of a culinary afficionado, social butterfly and reporter of a Jewish man hooked on old movies with a sleek, tiny bit over six feet tall, highly connected, impossibly smart and beautiful policewoman of colour? (Handler's own terms).

Desiree is assigned cases to investigate (and gets herself into dangerous predicaments) and is able to solve them before all hell breaks loose or her highly placed father has to intervene, thanks to Mitch, who does a lot of informal socializing behind the scenes, learns highly important elements to the case and unwittingly saves the day (and Desiree) on numerous occasions.

Clever plot to this one - a group of friends swore to a secret 40 years prior and years later, a crime is discovered. Now there are multiple confessors and the remaining evidence is slim.

samdog123 Dec 27, 2014

Another wonderful installment in the Berger and Mitry series. David Handler does such a wonderful job of building the relationship between these two--he a New York movie critic and she a State trooper. Not to be missed, but begin with the first title in the series.

karcoldelharvic5 Aug 09, 2014

Love this series. Funny, sad, happy/ Just plain good reading!

ChristchurchLib Jun 08, 2014

"An unpopular public works project under the leadership of a woman First Selectman is further complicated by the discovery of a body beneath Dorset Street that prompts Desiree and Mitch to confront the historic village's aristocracy." Thrillers and Suspense June 2014 newsletter

May 16, 2014

This is one of the best mystery series out there. I absolutely love Mitch and Desiree and their loving, but sometimes complicated relationship. The plots are always interesting and involve new and long-time characters in the series. I can't wait for the next installment. Wonderful!!


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Oct 01, 2018

‘“I’m not much of a drinker.” Helen perched hesitantly on the edge of the sofa next to Bitsy. “But do you have any Scotch?”
“A very nice Balvenie. How do you take it?”
Helen blinked at him. “In a glass.”’


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