Preaching to the Corpse
Berkley, Dec 2007, $6.99
Psychologist Dr. Rebecca Butterman is woken up in the middle of the night by her minister of the Shoreline Congregational Church. He asks her to come over to the emergency medical clinic off exit 59. Dr. Meigs takes the phone from him and explains that the minister was with parishioner Lacy Bailes when she died. He refuses to talk to the detective unless Rebecca is with him. When she arrives at the clinic, the minister is more interested in having Rebecca on the committee to find a new pastor than he is of being a murder suspect because he doesn’t believes the victim who was a good person was poisoned like the doctor suspects..
Rebecca agrees to serve on the committee, but finds the group is not even close to a selection. There are two candidates: a woman from out of town and Reverend Wesley’s choice Paul a divinity student graduate who the pastor demands they choose immediately. Paul and Rebecca fall down a flight of stairs that have been greased by Crisco. This adds credence to the theory that Lacy was poisoned. That conclusion is solidified when someone fires a bullet that whizzes past Rebecca when she is near her front door. She believes someone fears that her questions are leading her to identifying the killer of Lacy, but instead of taking the safe “smart” road, she intensifies her investigation.
Rebecca Isleib has written a fantastic amateur sleuth tale in which it seems everyone except the detective and the heroine’s sister and niece have something to conceal and thus push personal agendas to guard against revealing their secrets. Although some will question why a psychologist would turn to sleuthing especially of a homicide (besides needing it for the plot), the protagonist is ideal for the job as she is an expert on human nature and will need her reading of people skills to determine who are the most likely suspects. Sub-genre fans will enjoy accompanying Dr. Butterman has she makes her inquires.