Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Review: A Truth for a Truth by Emilie Richards (Ministry is Murder #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Characters, humor, climax
Cons: Plot a little uneven in the middle
The Bottom Line
Uneven plot but
Characters still entertain
Aggie saves the day

I'll be Truthful - I Enjoyed This Book

A Truth For a Truth is our fifth trip to Emerald Springs, Ohio.  It's the home of Aggie Sloan-Wilcox whose husband Ed is the minster in the Consolidated Community Church in town.  Aggie has a talent for getting involved in murder investigations.  You'd think a small town wouldn't provide that many interesting cases, but once again, Aggie manages to find a whopper.

Godwin "Win" Dorchester is a former minister of Consolidated Community Church.  15 years after he left for another congregation.  Win has now retired and wants to move back to relax.  He and his wife Hildy have barely unpacked when Win collapses and dies from an apparent heart attack.  Since he had a heart condition, it's quickly ruled natural causes.

But in the middle of the memorial service, Aggie gets a call that the police think it is murder.  When that suspicion is confirmed, the police quickly narrow in on Hildy.  Now Hildy may be overbearing and driving Aggie crazy, but there is no way that woman killed her husband, so Aggie sets out to prove Hildy is innocent.  As Aggie begins to investigate, she begins to find that Win wasn't the saint people remember his as.  Where in the past is the motive?

The characters in this series are completely charming, and I was thrilled to spend more time with them.  Aggie, Ed, and their two daughters are as real as always, and it feels like a visit with old friends.  Some of the supporting characters in the series aren't around much in this book, although Aggie's friend Lucy gets a nice big part this time around.

And Hildy is a force to be reckoned with.  That character leapt off the page the first time she appeared fully developed, and grew even more real over the course of the story.  I actually had a tear in my eye during the final pages seeing her relationship with Aggie.  The other new characters in the book are real enough, although they pale in comparison to Hildy.

The story starts strong with some interesting twists and a couple of very funny scenes early.  Then it seems to stall a bit in the middle.  Things are still happening, and I enjoy the characters so much that it was only in retrospect that I felt the story wasn't moving forward.  Things do pick up for the final act, and the story comes together for a pretty inventive climax.

The story is narrated first person by Aggie, and the tone makes it feel like a friend telling you a story.  That's part of what makes it so easy to get lost in the book.  Trust me, the pages will fly by.  And there are several quite funny scenes made every better by Aggie's self-depreciating comments.

Yes, this book is set around a church, but religion is kept to a minimum.  The church is a non-specific denomination that is very open.  Don't worry, you won't be preached to in the slightest by reading this series.

It's always hard for me to leave Emerald Springs.  If you enjoy light, humorous mysteries with characters you'll love, A Truth For a Truth is for you.

You'll also enjoy going back to the beginning with the Ministry is Murder Mysteries in order.

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