Springs, California has a new pastor at the Faith Chapel Episcopal
Church. Her name is Hope Taylor and she is the first female
pastor. The small Northern California town offers a fresh
start for Hope, who is a widow and for Bogie, her black lab.
When Hope goes to meet up with Father Christopher, the rector
who hired her, she can’t find him anywhere. While exploring
she finds church elder Stanley King dead. He was in the columbarium
and was crushed by a fallen burial urn. Unfortunately, for
Hope, Stanley was actively against her preaching at the church
and had shouted at her that she would do so over his dead
Naturally, Hope becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Hope
and Bogie will have to clear her name. This is something you
expect from most cozy mysteries, but this one is different
because Hope is a pastor. That’s unique in itself in
a cozy, but I don’t think there is another female pastor
in any series.
There are many references to old movies, which is great unless
you aren’t a movie fan, which I am not. I ended up confused
more often than not and stopping to look up movie titles to
get the connection to what was going on. That slowed down
my reading enough that eventually I gave up and just carried
on with reading. That said I realize that I am an odd duck
for not knowing much about movies and most readers will probably
enjoy the mentions.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read and a good debut to a
new series. Hope is a likable character and it was interesting
to get to know other Apple Springs inhabitants. The mystery
is solid and well-plotted. The dialogue is smooth and realistic
and the setting is described nicely.
Laura Jenson Walker is an established author and knows her
craft. I recommend this first in a new series highly. It’s
a really good book!
Laura Jensen Walker also writes the Bookish Baker Mysteries