Waldo Templeton was, at best, a mediocre organist. He was also careless, so his killer was able to follow him to the sanctuary of Stonewall Jackson Memorial Church in Picketsville, VA, and dispatch him. Then the Vicar's secretary follows Waldo to an early grave.
The Vicar, the Reverend Blake Fisher, sent to Picketsville when his ambition overcame his common sense, had had enough trouble in Philadelphia. He did not need a corpse behind his altar. He did not need his gun to be stolen, and he definitely did not need the local police breathing down his back as a suspect in a double murder.
Aided by the computer wizardry of his newest deputy, Sam (Samantha) Ryder and the country wisdom of Billy Sutherlin, Sheriff Ike Schwartz must sort through false leads, the unsolicited helpfulness of a politically connected parishioner and missing counseling files belonging to Blake's predecessor. Then the Vicar himself becomes the killer's third target....
Secrets is the sequel to Ramsay's first novel, Artscape, featuring Sheriff Ike Schwartz.
Ramsay follows his solid debut, Artscape (2004), with an even better sophomore effort, in which Picketsville, Va., sheriff Ike Schwartz looks into the murder of church organist Waldo Templeton at the struggling Stonewall Jackson Memorial Episcopal Church. The little congregation's vicar, Blake Fisher, recently appointed by outside authority, is at odds with its entrenched cadre led by the church secretary, Millicent Bass. Millicent is determined not to let Blake have the upper hand even though he's nominally her boss. The normal tensions that might be expected by such an appointment are exacerbated not only by Waldo's murder but by other circumstances that Ramsay skillfully limns as he explores the conflicts and the growths (healthy and malignant) that evolve from it. Schwartz proves as adept at navigating the philosophical/religious waters as he is at handling the more conventional aspects of crime solving. The result is both a thought-provoking examination of serious pastoral issues and a thoroughly entertaining mystery that succeeds on all levels without recourse to bombast or carnage. (Aug.)
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Poisoned Pen Press
May 31, 2006
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