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, and Faith, 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. You can find Kathie online at Deviny.camelpress.com.
Death in the Memorial Gardenby Kathie Deviny
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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.
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What a nice, cozy mystery, indeed! I almost can't find any fault with this book. The profanity was extremely mild, and there were no sex scenes. The reference to the gays was not even a problem for me. Now the minor negatives are out of the way, let me celebrate the joys of this story. Any story that takes place in the Pacific Northwest and mentions the majestic Mt. Rainier deserves my highest praise. And when you add a fascinating mystery and possible murder, it couldn't be much better. Then when you add in an Episcopalian priest and the typical parishioners, it only gets better. I don't want to give away the story, so I won't share any more about that. This book is so good it practically reads itself. Let me tell you a secret. I was very tired as I read this, but this book was so exciting that I could not sleep! I did not nod off once. If you like mysteries, this book is for you. It is practically squeaky clean, and it is enjoyable reading for a winter's night. I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
I signed up to review this book for the tour because I was on a cozy mystery kick at the time. Needless to say, this book did not disappoint. While there were a few typos, the story and characters were a lot of fun. I’m not a fan of the cover, but I do love the title. This was a very quick read as well. There are a lot of characters and sometimes it was confusing as there were so many. My favorite character was Daniel. He was the organist and a very good one, but socially he was quite awkward and funny. He did add a lot to the story. All the others were enjoyable, just not as memorable as Daniel. I liked the setting and plot of the story. With the idea of the church building getting older and obviously wearing out and needing repairs, this did lead to a lot of questions and concerns with its continuing in service. This dilapidated state also could have opened the doors wider to the property developers who had their eye on the church and its buildings. I loved how this added to the suspense of the story. This is a very light hearted mystery, not too much depth involved with the characters or the location. I would definitely recommend this to all readers of cozy mysteries.
"Death in the Memorial Garden" has put a unique twist to the mystery genera. Ms. Deviny presents her readers with a combination of two dilemmas, neither one of which have catastrophic scenarios that could possibly lead to the destruction or economic downfall of the country which is so common to today's mystery novels. The reader is presented with a combination problem and mystery both of which could end the local church. The solutions come from a neighborhood of interesting characters pulling together for the common good, their church. In a time of catastrophes and fear Ms. Deviny presents her readers a warm hearted and gripping read. The style and sensibility of this gentle mystery is sure to find the niche it deserves.
Death in the Memorial Garden was a very comfortable story to read. While reading it I did keep wondering just what events were around the corner and what the final outcome of this story would be - which I can honestly say the ending was nothing like what I anticipated. There were alot of characters and alot that were involved in trying to solve this mystery. Daniel was an essential character in this book. His story line not only held this book together it was essential to the conclusion. In a church with mostly older parishioners (out of the few parishioners they had) - Daniel provided a contrast to the rest of the parish. A large portion of the story was dedicated to the deplorable conditions of the church, threats of closure, safety issues and ultimately a strong push to survive. I did enjoy the casual nature of this story and it was short enough that I read it in one sitting. If you are looking for something to read while relaxing - this is the book. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.