Saturday, March 2, 2013

Book Review: Blessed is the Busybody by Emilie Richards (Ministry is Murder #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and story
Cons: Slight pause in pacing; theological differences
The Bottom Line:
Mystery debut
With characters that I love
And a good story

Blessed is the Reader for This is a Great Debut

Aggie Sloane-Wilcox is trying to adjust to life in Emerald Springs, Ohio. Not only is this a tight knit small town, but being the wife of the new minister of Consolidate Community Church means she and her family are constantly under scrutiny. Especially since they live in the parsonage right next to the church. For example, the Women's Society Board thinks they need to come over and decide what length the bushes in the backyard should be.

But when this group of ladies shows up at the parsonage, they find a woman's body on Aggie’s front porch. Worse yet, she's completely naked. The ladies are scandalized and blame Aggie for the problem. Worse yet, the police think that Aggie's husband, Ed, is the most likely killer.

Despite warnings to stay out of it, Aggie can't. The stakes are raised when some of the members of the church decide this makes a good excuse to fire Ed. So who was this woman? Why was she in town? And can Aggie stay alive long enough to find the answer?

This debut sparkles. Aggie is a fun character. She has lots of spunk, and reading about her is sure to bring a smile to anyone's face. Her first person narration adds to the fun with her commentary on the events going on around her.

The other characters are just as wonderful. Ed makes a good balance to Aggie while best friend Lucy helps stir up trouble. Ed and Aggie's two daughters are well crafted and realistic for their ages. The assorted suspects and church members are all well developed as well. Characters are obviously one of the Emilie Richards' strengths because all of these characters are great.

The only flaw in the book is an uneven plot. Around the middle, the story lags a little, and I found myself waiting for events to get moving again. This didn't last very long. Over all, the story is great with several nice twists and an exciting climax.

And I must comment on the theology. Being a series set in a church, I wasn't sure how I would like it. While this is not a church I would regularly attend in real life, it was presented as a part of these character's lives. It never once became preachy or over powered the story but added a richness and texture to the story.

As previously mentioned, this book is written first person, and it takes great advantage of that. We really get to know Aggie, and her thoughts keep even the slow sections amusing. It was easy to get lost in the story.

It's always a pleasure to find a new series that shows promise, and that's just what you get with Blessed Is The Busybody. I hope the author delivers on that promise when the second book is released.

And if you are looking for more in the series, here are the Ministry is Murder Mysteries in order.

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