I love a good British mystery and this series has been great. Even though there are two previous novels in this series, this one can be enjoyed well on its own.
I have come to appreciate Faith and all the quirky characters in her parish. In this novel, it is time for the church's anniversary celebration and an artist was commissioned to create a painting of the church for the colorful booklet. There was controversy over the choice of artist. The church council vote was close and some were very vocal about the decision. When the artist turns up murdered, Faith is right in the middle of it.
A mystery, and there are plenty of suspects to choose from. I like the way Ockley gives motives to so many it is hard to identify the likely suspect. I like the way Faith subtly investigates the murder. It is always in the back of her mind, unlike Ben, the lead detective, who seems only to irritate people. Faith's current occupation as vicar and her past experience with the police is a perfect combination to ultimately solve the murder. It was a surprise to me, but then, I should have paid better attention to the clues.
Faith is also confronted by the reality of her mother's downward journey into dementia. Her sister, Ruth, adds pressure by wanting Faith to take more responsibility for their mother. The combination of the anniversary celebration, the murder, and her mother's condition brings out the best in Faith. She relies on God for her strength more in this novel and I like that.
Readers in the U.S. should remember that the way Christianity is experienced in England is a bit different than what we see here.
A great novel for those who like cozy mysteries set in a small British village.
Martha Ockley writes both fiction and non-fiction. When not writing, she loves to potter around her eighteenth-century cottage and spend time with her parrot.
Lion Fiction (distributed in the U.S. by Kregel Books), 234 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.