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Down Among the Dead Men: A Year in the Life of a Mortuary Technician

Michelle Williams

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

What is it like to work in a mortuary? Nothing like you'd expect, actually . . .

Michelle Williams is young and attractive, she has close family ties as well as a busy social life - but she is far from usual. She is a mortuary technician and her job involves dealing with those things in life that many people do not wish to experience directly.

Yet life in the mortuary is neither gruesome nor sad. Told with good humour and common sense, we are introduced to a host of characters - the pathologists, many of them eccentric, some downright mad; the undertakers, the hospital porters and the man from the coroner's office who sings to Michelle every morning.

The incidents too ensure that no two days are ever the same. From the tragic to the hilarious they include:

The fitness fanatic who was run over as he did pressups in the road on a dark night
The decapitated motorcyclist
The guide dog who led his owner on to the railway tracks - and left him there
The forty stone man for whom an entire refrigerated lorry had to be hired because he wouldn't fit in the mortuary cooler

Over the course of her first year Michelle has to deal with situations and emotions that few of us will ever experience, and does so while retaining a sense of humour and a sense of perspective.

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Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams started working for the NHS over 15 years ago where she worked as a senior health care assistant. She has since worked as an anatomical pathology technician and is now a mortuary manager. She lives in Cheltenham.

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