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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Death in the Memorial Garden by Kathie Deviny

Title: Death in the Memorial Garden 
Author: Kathie Deviny 
Publication: October 15, 2012 
Publisher: Camel Press
Source: Publisher
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Audience: 17 and up 


Synopsis: Just as the sexton is about to inter the ashes of one of Grace Church’s last wealthy patronesses in the Memorial Garden, he unearths a wine crate containing the ashes of an unknown. Next to the ashes is a distinctive pair of shoes. Not only are the woman’s relatives furious at the interruption, but they soon have grounds for a lawsuit: yet another piece of the church’s tower comes crashing to the ground.

With their congregation dwindling and their world literally falling in around them, Father Robert Vickers and his colorful staff members and volunteers put their heads together to solve the mystery of the anonymous ashes and find the means to save Grace Church from the developers … all in time for the Bishop’s visit.

My Thoughts: This is a fast paced story that occurs over a few days. Father Robert Vickers is on a mission to save his church and the rapidly decaying tower. What begins as a normal funeral ends with the mystery of cremains in the plot intended for another. Father Rob and a few parishioners are determined to find out who was left in the plot and why. Together they will decode this mystery. This seemed like it was going to be a straight forward mystery but there were many revelations, twists and turns that I was not expecting. Deviny weaves a charming mystery that can be read in one sitting. 

Read an Excerpt

The obstacle, once unearthed, proved to be the size and shape of a wine crate. It was a wine crate, Robert Vickers realized. As a matter of fact, he told Raymond, the security officer, it was the same type of crate that held the sweet wine used by Grace Church for communion services. The top looked to have been removed and then crudely re-nailed.

“Good job, Henry! Now go to the tool closet and bring back a crowbar,” he ordered.

While they were waiting, the priest noticed that the number of food bank clients and other spectators had swelled and were spilling into the street. A man in a turban jostled against another sporting a suit and fedora. A woman wearing a long navy blue dress and veil was offering her potatoes to a Hawaiian-shirted fellow in exchange for his rice.

The babble of many languages rose on the rainy breeze, lending the scene the air of a modern-day Pentecost. All that was missing was the dove, although there were plenty of pigeons underfoot, hoping for a handout. Robert was not surprised to see the tall figure of Clare, known to all as the Pigeon Lady, among the crowd, swathed head to foot in a hooded brown robe.

Wherever she went, the pigeons followed, even though the Health Officer had persuaded her to stop feeding them. Robert also spotted Marjory, Clare’s caretaker, standing nearby and shaking her head as if to say, “What can I do?” Clare’s arms were outstretched, as if to bless them all, bird and human alike.

A baby-blue police cruiser poked its way up the street through the crowd. The vehicle stopped midstream, and then its door pushed open against the surrounding bodies. A curly blonde head and blue-clad torso emerged and loomed over the crowd. The patrol officer waded toward Raymond and Father Vickers, using her broad shoulders to part the waters. Once on the other side, she eyed the pile of dirt, the hole in the ground and the split box, and asked Raymond, “Well, well, Officer Chen. Got funeral duty today?”

“Very funny, Officer Hitchcock,” he replied, brown eyes meeting her baby blues. “What I’ve got is a big mess. Father Vickers here was trying to bury some remains when the gravedigger ran into this box.”

Joyce Hitchcock glanced around the garden area. “This doesn’t look like a graveyard to me.”

Robert intervened. “It’s a memorial garden, officer, consecrated for the purpose of interring the ashes of the deceased of this church. It’s—oh, it doesn’t matter—I want to find out what’s inside this box. We were just getting ready to open it.”

“But what if there’s a body inside?” croaked Henry the sexton, crowbar at the ready. Realizing from the quizzical looks he was receiving that a wine box wasn’t quite large enough for this purpose, he amended his question in a more forceful tone, “Well, what if there’s a body part inside?”


Author Bio:

After retiring from a career as a “government bureaucrat” serving primarily in the criminal justice system, Kathie Deviny studied creative writing. Essays focusing on her treatment for breast cancer and life as the spouse of an Episcopal priest have been published in the Seattle Times, Episcopal Life, Cure magazine, andFaith, Hope and Healing by Bernie Siegel.

Kathie was Features Editor of her high school newspaper and originally planned a career in journalism. After realizing she was too shy to chase after stories, she followed her mother’s career path and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work, attending UC Berkeley and the University of Washington. She nurtured her journalistic ambitions by developing a program at the Monroe, WA, prison which produced a magazine in cooperation with community volunteers.

Death in the Memorial Garden, her first work of fiction, reflects her love of the cozy-style mystery. Her other loves are gardening, choral singing, and locating bargains at her church’s thrift shop, where she volunteers. Kathie lives with her now-retired husband, Paul; they divide their time between California and Western Washington.

This giveaway is for an  e-copy of Death in the Memorial Garden and internationally. Please use the rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win. Take a look at what other reviewers are saying about Death in the Memorial Garden!!! Several are hosting a giveaway as well.

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*This book was provided by the author and/or publisher for Partners In Crime Tours in exchange for an honest review*