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Deep Waters

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In a culture obsessed with celebrity, baby Muffinas death is big news. Crib death? Or something more sinister? Everyone wants to know, including the police.
Whatever the truth, the bereaved parentsacelebrity couple Jodee and Chazzalive in curate Callie Ansonas London parish, and Callie becomes involved with funeral arrangements, despite the disapproval of her vicar and his wife.
Detective Inspector Neville Stewart is recalled from his honeymoon...

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In a culture obsessed with celebrity, baby Muffinas death is big news. Crib death? Or something more sinister? Everyone wants to know, including the police.
Whatever the truth, the bereaved parentsacelebrity couple Jodee and Chazzalive in curate Callie Ansonas London parish, and Callie becomes involved with funeral arrangements, despite the disapproval of her vicar and his wife.
Detective Inspector Neville Stewart is recalled from his honeymoon to investigate the caseawith disastrous personal results. And journalist Lilith Nooneas professional future is on the line, as she is sucked more and more deeply into her own flirtation with celebrity culture.
Meanwhile, for police family liaison officer Mark Lombardi, the death of baby Muffin is eclipsed by another death, much closer to home, and he finds himself in an impossible position, torn between his loyalty to his family and his growing love for Callie.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Charles combines credible characters and a puzzling mystery with a tantalizing look at the world of reality TV." — Publishers Weekly 

 "Charles's latest is sure to appeal to fans of both British police procedurals and Julia Spencer-Fleming's Episcopal mysteries.” —Library Journal 

 “Details of celebrity life, police work, and the Anglican Church add to this third in the series,  which will appeal to those who enjoy Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne mysteries.” –Booklist 

Publishers Weekly

Callie Anson, curate of All Saints' Church in London, and her beau, Mark Lombardi, a family liaison officer, get caught up in a high-profile investigation in Charles's engrossing third ecclesiastical mystery (after 2007's Secret Sins ). When the baby daughter of a celebrity couple from a reality TV show, Jodee and Chazz, dies in her cot, the subsequent autopsy raises enough questions to bring Det. Insp. Neville Stewart back from his honeymoon, much to his bride's fury. Since Jodee and Chazz live in Callie's parish, Callie becomes involved in arranging the funeral. Mark does his bit to help the bereaved family, but finds himself distracted by his own troubles after his brother-in-law dies of an apparent heart attack. A realistic conflict arises between Mark's devotion to his family and his love for Callie. A tabloid journalist's drive for status heightens the drama. Charles combines credible characters and a puzzling mystery with a tantalizing look at the world of reality TV. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

The death of the baby born to the stars of a popular British TV show results in a media frenzy and a determined police inquiry led by DI Neville Stewart. Meanwhile, curate Callie Anson gets involved with the funeral arrangements, much to her vicar's disapproval. In her third clerical mystery (after Evil Intent and Secret Sins), Charles weaves a complex tale around that investigation and the murder of police detective Mark Lombardi's brother-in-law and places the spotlight squarely on our current fascination with celebrities, reality TV, and the quest for fame. Charles's latest is sure to appeal to fans of both British police procedurals and Julia Spencer-Fleming's Episcopal mysteries.

—Jo Ann Vicarel
Kirkus Reviews
Murder and other traumas once more intrude on the lives of a London curate and her friends in Charles's uniquely small-town version of England's greatest city. Driven from her home above the church hall by roof repairs, Callie Anson (Secret Sins, 2007, etc.) asks her vicar, Brian Stanford, and his wife to take her in. Their forthcoming lack of hospitality indicates what a poor choice Callie's made, but by then bigger problems have emerged through her reluctant involvement in the SIDS death of Muffin Betts, whose parents, after meeting on the reality series twenty-four/seven, have rocketed to wealth but not intelligence or maturity. There's worse news: Muffin was shaken so hard weeks earlier that her unsuspected injuries may have contributed to her death. Nor do the official investigators fare much better. Callie's boyfriend, Family Liaison Officer Mark Lombardi, is put through a bewildering variety of emotions when his sister Serena's philandering husband suddenly dies, and again when he learns that Joe di Stefano's death was murder. And Mark's friend, DI Neville Stewart, enters the case when he's dragged home from his honeymoon, with predictably disastrous effects on his new marriage. In a hundred short scenes whose cutting echoes the rhythms of daytime TV drama, Charles deftly interweaves stories of the suspects, officers and caregivers variously torn between their dreams of fame and peace and family ties that seem to promise anything but. The mysteries, though authentic, never overwhelm the domestic dramas that unfold in Charles's Pine Valley-on-the-Thames.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590586020
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
  • Publication date: 3/10/2009
  • Series: Callie Anson Series
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Charles, a past Chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Barbara Pym Society, is a midwest native who has lived in England for more than twenty years. Her involvement in the Church of England has provided both backdrop and inspiration for her novels. Deep Waters is the third book in her series featuring newly-ordained Callie Anson. Kate Charles, a past Chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Barbara Pym Society, is a midwest native who has lived in England for more than twenty years. Her involvement in the Church of England has provided both backdrop and inspiration for her novels. Deep Waters is the third book in her series featuring newly-ordained Callie Anson.

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Read an Excerpt

Deep Waters

By Kate Charles

Poisoned Pen Press

Copyright © 2009 Kate Charles
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59058-602-0

Chapter One

About three o'clock on a March morning, Callie Anson thought the world must be coming to an end. It was the wind that woke her, slamming against the sash window of the bedroom as though it was trying to break and enter. Above her head the roof timbers creaked and groaned, then came the sound of a sliding slate, followed by a crash.

Callie was torn between the temptation to get out of bed to look out of the window and the urge to pull the duvet over her head and pretend it wasn't happening. Cowardice won out over curiosity, aided by the common-sense realisation that it was dark outside and she wouldn't be able to see much anyway.

Then there was a scratching sound at the bedroom door, frantic and persistent.

'Oh, Bella!' In an instant Callie was out of bed, opening the door to admit a black and white cocker spaniel. 'Come on, girl. You must be terrified.' She scooped the trembling dog up in her arms and carried her to the bed. 'It's okay,' she soothed, getting back under the duvet and stroking Bella's soft ears. 'I won't let it hurt you.'

As another slate and then two more crashed to the ground, Callie wished she felt as confident as she sounded. But then, that was pretty much the story of her life.

* * *

'I don't know.' The young man shook his head as he surveyed the wreckage which surrounded the church hall: smashed slates and broken branches. He tipped his head back and squinted towards the roof. 'Yer've lost a fair few of them slates, see? And it's too high up for a ladder. Goner need scaffolding, innit?'

'Scaffolding!' That, reflected Callie, sounded serious. And expensive.

'It'll cost yer,' he echoed her thoughts. 'Got insurance, have yer?'

'Oh, the church has insurance.'

The young man gave her a suspicious look. 'Yer live in a church?'

'This is the church hall—I live upstairs. The church is over there.' Callie pointed towards the nearby Victorian edifice, its roof miraculously intact. That, at least, was a blessing. The churchyard was going to need some clean-up, with all of those branches down, but it appeared that the building itself hadn't sustained any significant damage.

Likewise the vicarage, standing stolidly next door. No, the church hall had taken the brunt of the storm, and once it had lost one roof slate, a whole army of its fellows had followed.

The wind, though it had lost the edge of its savagery, was still blowing in frigid gusts. Callie shivered, while the young man crossed his arms across his chest and tucked his hands in his armpits. 'Any chance of a cuppa?' he suggested hopefully.

'Of course.'

That she could manage: dispensing cups of tea was one of her specialities, rain or shine. It was something curates, if they were at all clever, mastered in the first week of their job.

Callie led the way up the stairs to her flat. Ignoring the fancy hot drinks machine her brother had bought her, she filled the kettle and switched it on. Some good sturdy PG Tips was what was needed here, not poncy cappuccino or espresso.

She brought two mugs back into the sitting room to find that the young man had shed his donkey jacket and was on the sofa, stroking Bella. Above his faded jeans he wore a t-shirt which revealed a surprisingly thin, wiry physique. His skinny upper arms were encircled with some sort of tattoos, like celtic torc armbands. 'Nice dog,' he said.

'Thanks.' Callie smiled. 'She's called Bella.'

'I'm Derek, by the way. Derek Long.'

'Callie Anson.' She put one of the mugs on the table in front of him. 'Three sugars, like you said.'


How, she wondered, could he be so thin if he took three sugars in his tea? And what about his teeth? What she'd seen of them didn't look particularly attractive; her own teeth hurt, just thinking about it.

Derek picked up the mug, blew on its steaming surface, then took a gulp. 'Perfec,' he pronounced.

She drank her own tea, feeling she needed the warmth and comfort it provided after her foray outside.

'Can I ask yer a question?' Derek was looking at her over the rim of his mug. Looking, she perceived, in the vicinity of her clerical collar.

'Of course.'

'Are yer a vicar?'

Callie smiled. 'No, not exactly. I'm a curate.'

'What's that, then?'

Ah, she thought, the mysteries of the Church of England hierarchy. How could she explain it without boring this young man to tears? Bishops, archdeacons, deans, canons, vicars, rectors: even the faithful weren't always clear what it all meant. 'I suppose a curate is sort of like a junior vicar,' she said. 'The vicar—Brian—is my boss.'

'Curate sounds more like a junior doctor.' He grinned.

Callie laughed. 'I suppose it does.'

'So y're like ... religious? Or somefink like that?'

How was she supposed to answer? She thought about it for a moment, then said carefully, 'Well, I work for the Church. I believe in God, if that's what you mean.'

Derek Long shook his head. 'The Church,' he said. 'I don't get it. I mean, like, y're not bad lookink. If yer don't mind me sayin'. Why would yer waste yer life on the bloomin' Church?'

She turned the question back on him. 'You're not a churchgoer, then?'

'Me? Nah.' Again he shook his head. 'I mean, like, why would I go to bloomin' church? On a Sunday mornink? Not bloody likely. Not after I been down the pub on a Saturday night, like. I'm not goink nowhere on Sunday mornink.'

And this conversation wasn't going anywhere either, Callie decided. She didn't want to come across as prim and pious, and she knew that nothing she said would persuade this young man that church had anything to offer him. So she sipped her tea for a moment, then changed the subject. 'About the roof,' she said. 'It's bad?'

'It's bad, all right,' Derek replied promptly. 'To be honest, like, I fink it's past mendin'.'

'Past mending?' That sounded alarming. 'You mean you can't fix it?'

Derek ran a hand over his head—which wasn't quite shaved, but cropped very close to the scalp. 'Best to have a new roof.'

Well, Callie told herself philosophically, the insurance would take care of it. Brian would moan about all the paperwork, but it couldn't be helped. 'Will you be able to do it right away?' she asked. 'Or as soon as we can sort out the insurance?'

He shook his head. 'Not a chance.'


'There's a waitink list, like. For the scaffolding, innit?'

Callie fortified herself with a gulp of tea. 'Then how soon?'

'Month. Six weeks, mebbe. Two months, outside.'

Two months! Callie envisioned the spring rains which were yet to come and remembered the gaping holes in the roof above her head. 'Can you do something temporary? Put some plastic over the holes so the rain doesn't come in?'

Derek fondled Bella's ears. 'Yeah. I can, like, use some poly-fene sheetink. But,' he added, as if it were an insignificant detail, 'yer won't be able to live here.'

Not be able to live in her flat—for up to two months? Callie sank back in her chair. 'But ... but ... where am I supposed to live?'

Derek Long shrugged.

* * *

Where on earth was she going to live? Even if the insurance would pay for it, which seemed unlikely, Callie couldn't just go off and live in a hotel for two months. She had a dog, for one thing. And she needed to be in, or at least close to, the parish. Close to the church.

She'd better talk to Brian, and soon. Maybe he would know of a parishioner with an empty flat, or someone with a spare room who wouldn't mind a well-behaved dog—not to mention a well-behaved curate—moving in.

* * *

Jane Stanford was feeling a bit out of sorts. It wasn't anything she could put her finger on, but she just wasn't at her best. She'd spent the morning at the ironing board, which she usually didn't mind at all; on this occasion, though, her lower back ached.

A possible symptom of pregnancy, Jane was aware. If only. But Jane knew that—in spite of her efforts—she wasn't pregnant. She'd used one of her supply of testing kits just a few days ago, and the results were negative. Again. Not this month. Maybe soon, but not yet.

A baby girl—that was what she wanted. She'd wanted it for a very long time, since not long after she'd given birth to twin boys over eighteen years before, but the hard facts of vicarage budgeting had meant that it was out of the question to have another baby. Out of the question until just a few months ago, when an unexpected legacy had given their finances a boost, and Jane had confided her long-deferred hopes to Brian, hoping it wasn't too late.

She was, she hated to admit to herself, on the wrong side of forty, when conception could by no means be taken for granted. When she'd had the twins, all those years ago, it had been so easy. Now she was doing everything it said in the book—charting her temperature to pinpoint the moment of ovulation, taking lots of vitamin supplements, even losing a bit of weight—yet nothing had happened.

Jane straightened up, arching her shoulders to ease the strain. Perhaps, she told herself, the back ache was because she hadn't slept very well.There had been a tremendous storm in the night, battering the vicarage windows with a frightening savagery. Brian, bless him, had managed to sleep through it, but Jane hadn't been so lucky. She'd lain awake for what seemed like hours, hoping the walls and roof would withstand the onslaught.

And while Jane was ironing, transforming crumpled lumps of white fabric into crisp, snowy surplice and alb, Brian had spent much of the morning in his study with his curate, Callie Anson.

There was something about Callie Anson that got on Jane's nerves. She admitted it to herself, though she wasn't sure why it was so. In theory, Jane didn't have any strong objections to women in the clergy, nor could she come up with any valid theological arguments against women's ordination. She didn't really think that Callie had designs on Brian or would ever, consciously or unconsciously, inflict damage on their marriage. Callie wasn't rude or patronising to Jane as 'just the vicar's wife'; on the contrary, she was always pleasant and polite. She was a perfectly acceptable young woman, attractive and bright and hard-working. Jane just ... didn't like her.

She'd tried very hard to keep her feelings about Callie from Brian. After all, she knew how irrational they were, and she didn't want Brian to think she was some sort of jealous shrew. Still, she wasn't sure how successful she'd been until that day at lunch-time.

Lunch was vegetable soup, made with the dregs from the vegetable drawer of the fridge and a few sprouty potatoes she'd found at the back of the larder. Still, Brian ate it without complaint, and while eating he dropped his bomb-shell.

'The church hall really took a hit from that storm last night,' he said. 'I suppose we were quite lucky that the church and the vicarage weren't damaged as well.'


'The roof,' said Brian. 'Lost quite a few slates. Apparently the whole roof will have to be replaced. It's not even safe for habitation. The roofing chap told Callie she'll have to move out.'

Jane didn't have a premonition of what was coming. 'Oh, poor Callie,' she said with as much sincerity as she could muster.

'I told her she could stay here at the vicarage,' said Brian. 'Just for a month or two. You don't mind, do you, Janey?'

* * *

A month. Or two. Jane stared at her husband as though he'd taken leave of his senses. Which, it would seem, he had done.

'We have all this space here, especially with the boys away,' he went on. 'The guest room is made up, isn't it? Callie won't be any trouble.'

'But she has a dog.'

Brian shrugged. 'Oh, that won't be a problem. Bella's a quiet little thing, and we have a big garden. It's not as if you're allergic to dogs.'

Allergic to dogs. That was hardly the point. 'But ... isn't there anywhere else she can go?' Jane managed. 'An hotel?

'You said it yourself, Janey,' Brian said with infuriating patience. 'She has a dog. She can't stay in an hotel with a dog.'

'How about her mother's?'

He shook his head. 'Her mother lives in Kensington. Callie needs to be in the parish.'

'Surely there are people in the parish ...' Jane looked down into her soup bowl, struggling to keep her voice even. 'Can't you ask round, Brian? I can think of several people. Elderly ladies on their own in big houses, like Mildred Channing, or Hilary Dalton?'

He raised his eyebrows and gave her a quizzical look. 'I'd almost think you didn't want her here, Janey. This is the logical place for her to stay. You must see that.'

Jane swallowed hard. She had one last argument in her arsenal and now was the time to bring it out. 'What about the ... the money?'

'Money? What do you mean?'

Of course, thought Jane, Brian never worried about little things like money. It was up to her—and always had been—to eke out his stipend till the end of each month, to pay the bills and put food on the table. 'Her meals,' Jane said baldly. 'Am I expected to feed her out of my housekeeping money?'

Brian grinned, clearly pleased with himself. 'This is the best thing about it, Janey. I rang the EIO. The insurance company. They'll pay to put Callie's belongings in store. And they'll pay us. There will be a weekly cheque coming in for her accommodation!'

That, realised Jane, was it. She may as well give up and accept it.

* * *

The storm had passed, bringing behind it unseasonably warm temperatures and sunshine. It was, in short, too nice a day for Mark Lombardi to eat his lunch in the police station canteen. Instead he picked up a sandwich and headed for his favourite green space.

Newcomers to London were always surprised at how much green space was to be found in the nation's capitol city. Mark, as a London native, took for granted the vast expanses of Hyde Park, to the south of the station, Regents Park, to the north-east, and the more modest Paddington Green, round the corner. But there were smaller green spaces as well, tucked away in unexpected places—tiny squares, little parks, churchyards. Some time ago Mark had discovered one of the latter just a short walk from the station: a secluded churchyard with a bench where he could sit and eat his sandwich in peace and feel a million miles away from the bustle of London.

And sitting in a churchyard, even if it wasn't her churchyard, somehow made him feel closer to Callie: more a part of the world she lived in. Thinking about Callie, imagining what she was doing at any given moment, was something Mark did a great deal of these days, wherever he was.

If anyone had told Mark Lombardi, six months ago, how much his life could change in half a year, he wouldn't really have believed them.

All it had taken was that trip to Venice to visit his grandmother. On the way back to London, he'd been seated next to an engaging young woman with shiny brown bobbed hair, and they'd talked for the entire flight as if they'd known each other for years. That's how it had started; by the time they'd landed he knew that he wanted to see Callie Anson again. And again and again.

Mark wondered, not for the first time, about the vagaries of fate. What if the woman at the airline check-in had assigned him a different seat that day? What if Callie hadn't commented on the Italian newspaper he was reading, and drawn him into conversation? So many variables ... And yet there was such an inevitability about it, looking at it from the perspective of the present. Here, now, sitting in this churchyard, he could not imagine his life without Callie in it. She was woven into the fabric of his thoughts, day and night; they saw each other most evenings, and in between they spoke on the phone. She was even—miracle of miracles—accepted by la famigilia Lombardi, that formidable institution which pretty much governed his life.

He still couldn't believe that Mamma liked Callie. He'd been so prepared for the opposite that he'd delayed their meeting for months. After all, he had been programmed for his entire thirty-one years to bring home a nice Italian girl, with all that implied. And Callie wasn't just an Anglo: she was an Anglican. An Anglican in Holy Orders, at that.


Excerpted from Deep Waters by Kate Charles Copyright © 2009 by Kate Charles. Excerpted by permission of Poisoned Pen Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Posted January 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    terrific combination police procedural and faith-based amateur sleuth

    The London media led by Daily Globe reporter Lilith Noone feeds the public¿s fascination with celebrities when Muffin, the baby daughter of reality TV show hosts Jodee and Chazz, dies in her cot. Lilith has the inside track to England¿s most famous grieving couple. Since the infant passed away in her district, All Saints Church curate Callie Anson assists with the funeral arrangement. <BR/><BR/>Meanwhile the autopsy of the crib death victim raises some anomies that have the police wondering if this was a tragic sudden infant death case or something more sinister. There are enough questions to have the brass bring back Detective Inspector Neville Stewart on his honeymoon with his pregnant bride Triona. At the same time that a frustrated Neville and an angry Triona return to London, Callie¿s boyfriend family liaison officer Mark Lombardi is helping his extended family cope with the heart attack death of his brother-in-law so he is unable to provide much help to Jodee and Chazz or be there for Callie.<BR/><BR/>The key to this terrific combination police procedural and faith-based amateur sleuth inquiry is the strong cast; few novels will match how deep the secondary and tertiary characters are developed within an exciting story line. Fans will appreciate the depth to the Lombardi brood, Lilith, Jodee, Chazz and Triona while Mark and Callie have issues as does Neville. All this with a strong whodunit and an insightful look at behind the scenes of reality TV make the third Anson mystery (see SECRET SINS and EVIL INTENT) a winner.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

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