Death in the Memorial Garden

Death in the Memorial Garden

4.2 4
by 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


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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A fast-paced tale that has intrigue, mystery, and humor all rolled up into a neat little story that takes place over a span of one week…. The storyline has surprising twists and turns coupled with satirical humor that will keep you engaged, and a quirky cast of characters who are a lot of fun." --Jersey Girl Book Reviews

"A great cozy…. with a big mystery to solve and colorful characters. I look forward to reading [Deviny's] next book!" --Book Lovers Stop

"Deviny had a challenge on her hands and she met it and exceeded it. With her character development, her take on a subject that is divisive with the Church, and solid pacing I'm looking forward to more installments with the other characters taking their turn in the spotlight. RECOMMENDED."

-Vikki Walton, I Love a Mystery

I would have read Death in the Memorial Garden even without a murder…I just loved following the day-to-day activities of this crazy group that is keeping Grace Church running on a wing and a prayer! Author Kathy Deviny does a great job creating three-dimensional characters, not only the aspects of them that play into the solving of the mystery but random miscellaneous traits that simply make them REAL. The characters of this book felt very familiar…perhaps I met them at my church? And I have a feeling that the way the characters become instant friends will have many readers returning for the next adventure at Grace Church.

If I had to describe the plot of this book in one word (or is it two?) I would say spiderweb (spider web?). This is not a simple clothesline of a plot where we follow along as the detective searches for clues and uncovers the criminal. No, Death in the Memorial Garden has plots stretching out in every direction.

Where is the organist's mysterious missing father? Why is Clare fascinated by birds and who is she? What's the deal with the shoes and unidentified ashes found at church? Who is tossing boulders at the parishioners? Will the mourners sue the church? Does the Bishop want to save Grace Church or destroy it? Will the mega-developers turn Grace Church into a gentrified neighborhood? Will the pastor find true love? So many questions, so much going on -- just like life!

--Jodi Webb, Words by Webb, Nov. 27, 2012

"Lovable characters, atmospheric charm, and sins from the past make this a must for brick & murder readers."

--Mary Daheim, author of the Bed-and-Breakfast Mysteries and the Alpine/Emma Lord Mysteries

"A heart-warming story filled with likeable characters as they deal with murder, mishaps, and mayhem. An insightful view into the challenges faced by today's urban churches. I look forward to the next murder at Grace Church."

--Liz Osborne, author of Dirty Laundry, A Robyn Kelly Mystery

Product Details

Coffeetown Enterprises, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.36(d)

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?"

Meet the Author

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

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Death in the Memorial Garden 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
ruthhill74 More than 1 year ago
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.
DaleneH More than 1 year ago
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.
sawbrick More than 1 year ago
"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.
TheStuffofSuccess More than 1 year ago
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.