Get To Know Dr. Emily Hartford – The Coroner

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Dr. Emily Hartford is the protagonist of The Coroner’s Daughter mystery series. She is a busy surgeon and medical examiner these days, but we were able to find her in the doctor’s lounge long enough to ask her a few questions about her life as it’s unfolding right now.

What’s your name, age & occupation?

I’m Dr. Emily Hartford. I’m 28 and so far I’ve basically been a student all my life. Currently, I’m a surgical resident at the University of Chicago. I have three years left in my residency.

Are you married?

For one hot second, I was engaged. I gave the ring back, but I’m not sure if the relationship is over. He’s a surgeon in Chicago. While I’ve been back home, I also reconnected with my high school sweetheart, Nick, who happens to be Freeport’s Sheriff. We solved the case together and our old friendship was rekindled… Part of me would like to see where that goes.

What do you hope to do after your residency?

That’s where the problem lies. The plan was to finish residency, get married, and settle into life as a surgeon in Chicago. But getting drawn back to my hometown after being away for 12 years has really thrown a wrench into my plans. When I went home to help my dad, I ended up getting involved in the investigation of a murder case. It was thrilling and really stirred up those old desires to become a medical examiner. I’m going to try to work it all out as soon as my father recovers. (Find out how The Coroner Book 2 – 2019!)

What spurred your desire to become a medical examiner?

My father has held the job for over 30 years. I started assisting him when I was 13. It’s kind of a strange job, but can be really rewarding. When someone loses a loved one they’re at the most terrible moment in their life. An M.E. can offer some comfort and answers. I like that I can explain what happened or help police find something that points them to the killer.

Where do you live?

My address says Chicago, but I’m currently on short term leave in my hometown of Freeport, Michigan, taking care of my father who has suffered some severe health issues.

Sorry to hear that. It must be nice for your parents to have you back home for a bit?

Oh… well… My mom died when I was 15. I should say… she was killed in a car accident. I’m not sure about the details since my Dad refused to investigate her crash. This is actually the reason I ran away from home a year later.

Do you still think about the accident and hope for answers?

Every day. I feel like my Dad knows more to the story and I hope he shares it with me soon. I’m worried because his health isn’t great and I don’t want to lose him before we have the chance to reconcile and revisit the cause of mom’s death. I don’t want that hanging over us any longer.

What is your favorite spot to study?

I have two. I’m library nut. I love the university medical library. I lose track of time in those stacks. There have been many late nights when the librarian has had to kick me out because they were closing. I also love noisy coffee houses. Not corporate cafes like Starbuck’s, but locally owned ones.

Who is your best friend and what’s the craziest adventure you’ve had together?

Jo is my best friend from high school.

What’s your favorite meal?

Any meal I don’t have to cook. I’m not a great cook. When my mother was alive she always cooked for me and my Dad. After I moved in with my Aunt Laura in Chicago, it didn’t improve. Aunt Laura likes take out. And I was too busy in high school and university to learn any cooking skills. Maybe someday….

Morning or night person?

Um… both. I don’t have a choice. I have to get up for early for shifts at the hospital and I’m often studying late into the night.

Favorite sports team?

The Cubs. Of course!

Movies, TV or Broadway?

I wish I had time for more! I fall asleep in front of the TV. I never seem to make it out to see a movie. I love going to see good theater. But usually someone else has to orchestrate getting the tickets.

Castle or NCIS?

My friends would probably say NCIS because I’m really practical and scientific on the outside. But I have a soft, romantic interior that likes to be fed. If I could stay awake, I would pick Castle every time!

Get to know Emily more in The Coroner, first book in the series of Dr. Emily Hartford, as she returns home after her father’s heart attack and gets thrust into her first murder case.


Summoned from her promising surgical career first to her estranged father’s bedside, and then his post as medical examiner when his small town needs urgent help with a suspicious death, Emily Hartford discovers home is where the bodies are in this pitch perfect mystery debut.

Recently engaged and deeply ensconced in her third year of surgical residency in Chicago,

Emily Hartford gets a shock when she’s called home to Freeport, MI, the small town she fled

a decade ago after the death of her mother. Her estranged father, the local medical

examiner, has had a massive heart attack and Emily is needed urgently to help with his


Not sure what to expect, Emily races home, blowing the only stoplight at the center of town

and getting pulled over by her former high school love, now Sheriff, Nick Larson. At the

hospital, she finds her father in near total denial of the seriousness of his condition. He

insists that the best thing Emily can do to help him is to take on the autopsy of a Senator’s

teen daughter whose sudden, unexplained death has just rocked the sleepy town.

Reluctantly agreeing to help her father and Nick, Emily gets down to work, only to discover that the girl was murdered. The autopsy reminds her of her many hours in the morgue with

her father when she was a young teen―a time which inspired her love of medicine. Before

she knows it, she’s pulled deeper into the case and closer to her father and to Nick―much to

the dismay of her big city fiance. When a threat is made to Emily herself, she must race to

catch the killer before he strikes again in

The Coroner

, expertly written and sharply plotted,

perfect for fans of Patricia Cornwell and Julia Spencer Fleming.



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