A Drink of Deadly Wine

Kate Charles, Author
Kate Charles, Author Mysterious Press $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-89296-501-4
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-446-40194-4
Paperback - 978-0-7838-1911-2
Hardcover - 472 pages - 978-0-7838-1926-6
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-1-906288-11-2
Paperback - 322 pages - 978-1-934609-82-8
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Mixing sex and and ecclesiastics in her complex first mystery, Charles generally steers clear of sentimentality, although she comes dangerously close. The much-admired Father Gabriel Neville of St. Anne's, in London's Kensington Gardens, is a noted scholar and gifted orator. Outwardly a model minister--he is husband of Emily and father of exquisitely beautiful young twin daughters--Gabriel has a secret past that someone in the parish has discovered and threatened to reveal. In a desperate move, Gabriel asks David Middleton-Brown, a lover whom he abandoned for Emily 10 years earlier, to try to discover the author of the anonymous note. Ostensibly brought to the parish to guide the church's architectural repairs, David learns secrets over cups of tea. He also finds a semblance of passion activated, after a forlorn decade of near-celibacy, by Emily's chum Lucy. But David's investigation falters, a local gossip dies and the threat of revelations from Gabriel's past, seen to include the death of a youth, gains momentum. Ultimately we care more for characters than for the crime here; the Lucy/David quasi-affair is handled with tender finesse, and Gabriel hovers over the proceedings like a latter-day Dorian Gray, losing innocence with each new revelation. (Oct.)
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