Monday, July 10, 2006

Kate Charles, Evil Intent, 2005.

A newly ordained, newly appointed curate enters life in a parish not sure what to make of female clergy: some of the parishoners won’t so much as shake her hand, the rector’s wife feels usurped in role—and is also worried that a romantic takeover of her husband’s affections is in hand—and the rector wants to use her to do the jobs he doesn’t want to do. (No concept of team ministry. Baffling to a Canadian church fellow like myself.) Making matters worse, a good chunk of the deanery’s priests seem to be against women joining there number, and Callie’s ex-fiancé just happens to be placed as curate in the next parish over. Thank heavens for her good friend, a chaplain at the hospital--who’s promptly accused of murdering another priest with his own stole.

Machinations abound in this relatively entertaining murder mystery. For my taste, there’s a bit too much of Callie’s romantic life and uncertainties, but the book loses all the appeal it has with its deus ex machina ending—far too neat, tidy, and convenient.

Convenient is not a word I care for in the realm of mysteries. I was disappointed that an otherwise well-written book should collapse so dramatically at the end.