Dr. Rebecca Butterman is a psychologist who moonlights as an advice columnist for her local New England newspaper. She's happily asleep one night when she gets a phone call from a local detective. Her church's minister, Reverend Wesley, found one of his parishioners, Lacy Bailes, dead in her condo and called the police. The hospital ER doctor strongly suspects Lacy was poisoned, and naturally the cops are looking pretty hard at the good reverend. However he is refusing to say one word until Rebecca gets her butt down to the hospital. She does, and is shocked when all the man wants from her is her solemn promise to take over Lacy's position as chair of the assistant pastor search committee. Rebecca thinks it bizarre that that's what Wesley is so freaked out about (hello? murder?!), and agrees - mainly because handsome Detective Meigs thinks to use her as his eyes and ears inside the church.
As one would expect in a cozy mystery, things soon get complicated. Wesley is behaving strangely, then a bizarre accident during a church supper adds some drama. Who would want to kill Lacy and why? Does it have anything to do with the search committee? And can Rebecca figure it all out while surviving the holidays, a head cold, and an inappropriate crush on Meigs?
This is a charming, fast read. Rebecca is a smart woman, albeit still adjusting to life as a single after a divorce she's still coping with. The church back drop provides plenty of suspects and politics to keep the proceedings moving, although readers shouldn't think church setting = inspirational read. The violence level is low, with the murder happening off stage, but there is no
My one quibble is that I wish the author would have laid out a few more bread crumbs. There's a little too much guess work for a large chunk of the novel, and I really had no idea for the longest time where the mystery was going to lead. It's good that I didn't solve the thing before the end, but a few tantalizing teasers would have spiced up the proceedings a bit.
All in all though, this was a classic comfort read. If you're a fan of the lighter cozy mysteries, this one should be right up your alley.
Final Grade = B