The Funeral Director's Son

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-08-04
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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This family business is for life...In the small town of Clover, when you die, you are put to rest by Campbell and Sons Funeral Home. Unfortunately twelve-year-old Kip Campbell happens to be the only "son" in that title. And that's a problem for him since the funeral home business is the last thing he wants to inherit, even if he has a "gift" for it. See, it just so happens that Kip can talk to the dead. Well, they talk to him, really. They tell him what they need in order to move on to the great beyond. Kip wants to move too. Straight out of Clover. He's about to give notice -- he's done helping the dead -- when he's offered a surprising deal: Find out the secret that is holding back old Billy Blye, and Kip will receive his weight in gold. That would be enough to take him far away from Clover, and Campbell and Sons Funeral Home.

Author Biography

Coleen Murtagh Paratore
is the author of The Wedding Plannerís Daughter series. She lives in Albany, New York, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with her husband and three sons.


Chapter 1

Campbell and SonsThere are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk...

-- Charles Dickens,Nicholas Nickleby

I spend a lot of time thinking about f-words.

Food. Friends. Fun.

And funerals.

That's right, funerals. Our family runs Campbell and Sons Funeral Home. We live upstairs from the business. Family on the second floor. Funerals on the first. Frankenstein stuff in the basement. When you kick it in Clover, my home is your home. You're welcome anytime. Every day that ends in y. Morning, noon, or night.

It's been that way since 1875. Ever since my great-great-great-great-grandfather Christopher Adams Campbell had the fishbrain idea to start a funeral business. He was a carpenter, the only one in town, and I guess he was building so many caskets, he figured he might as well bury them too.

I wish the old Pilgrim could have picked a better product. Potato chips or bubble gum or chicken soup or something. But that's spit off Clover Cliff at this point. As we say in the funeral field, we're in it "forever" now.

For six long generations, Campbell and Sons Funeral Home has been proudly, and I mean proudly, passed on down from Campbell father to son...to son...to son. And that's fine if you like hanging around dead people. I don't.

That's a problem. A big one. Because unless one of my sisters grows a mustache and crosses over, there's only one Campbell son in this entire generation.


And every time I pass by that long line of Christophers hanging on the wall in the hall downstairs -- the gold-trimmed ghostly-grim faces of every Christopher Campbell, Funeral Director, from Christopher Adams Campbell to Christopher Bartholomew Campbell to Christopher Clemson Campbell...all the way to my father, Christopher Francis Campbell -- a snaky shiver runs down my spine.

And when I come to the end of the line and see that space on the wall next to my Dad. The perfect-size spot for one more portrait. The place where my face is supposed to go. I get a punch-in-the-gut-puke-it-up feeling.

All I can think about is: how can I stop history?

How can I be the first Christopher to break the family curse?

Be a Christopher Columbus, not a Christopher Campbell.

Chart a new course, pull up anchor, catch the wind, and sail away.

Even though, I know, it will break my father's heart. Copyright © 2008 by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Excerpted from The Funeral Director's Son by Coleen Murtagh Paratore
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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