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
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?"