- Expected Jan 12, 2021
In the tradition of M. C. Beaton, Hope Taylor, pastor of a small-town California church, tries to find out who sent a church elder to Heaven.
Hope Taylor arrives in Apple Springs to start her new life as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. The northern California town's quaint cottages, bungalows, and shops promise a fresh start for the 42-year-old widow and Bogie, her scruffy black Labrador. But where is Father Christopher? The kindly old rector who hired Pastor Hope was supposed to meet her upon her arrival, but he's nowhere to be seen. Hope's faith springs eternal, so she explores the little white church hoping to find Father Christopher. But when she enters the columbarium, she instead finds church elder Stanley King--his skull crushed by a fallen burial urn.
Hope had made Stanley's acquaintance before, and had struggled to take a charitable view of his character. Stanley was as wicked as he was wealthy, as petty as he was pious. His soul may have been holy, but his behavior was wholly rotten. The last time Hope had seen him, he had shouted drunkenly that she would preach at Faith Chapel over his dead body.
Many of the townsfolk witnessed the altercation, so Hope finds herself as the prime suspect in Stanley's murder. With Bogie's four-footed assistance, Hope is determined to find the real killer and clear her name...even if it will require a bit of divine intervention.
This pleasing series launch from Walker (Murder Most Sweet) introduces Hope Taylor, the new associate pastor and first woman priest of the Faith Chapel Episcopal church in Apple Springs, Calif. The first day on the job, Hope arrives early to find universally despised Stanley King, a wealthy congregant, dead in the columbarium. Someone evidently hit him on the head with a funeral urn. The town gossips are soon implying that Hope is the culprit, based on Stanley's having ardently opposed the hiring of a woman priest. To clear her name, she summons her "inner Trixie Belden" (the heroine of a Nancy Drew like detective series) and investigates. Hope's burgeoning relationships with the church members are just as important as solving Stanley's murder. Indeed, some readers may care more about who sabotaged the church ladies' tea than who killed Stanley. Cozy fans won't mind that witty, clever, and kind Hope does little detecting. With any luck, she'll be back soon. \n