Frederick Ramsay, Author . Poisoned Pen $24.95 (290p) ISBN 978-1-59058-188-9

Ramsay follows his solid debut, Artscape (2004), with an even better sophomore effort, in which Picketsville, Va., sheriff Ike Schwartz looks into the murder of church organist Waldo Templeton at the struggling Stonewall Jackson Memorial Episcopal Church. The little congregation's vicar, Blake Fisher, recently appointed by outside authority, is at odds with its entrenched cadre led by the church secretary, Millicent Bass. Millicent is determined not to let Blake have the upper hand even though he's nominally her boss. The normal tensions that might be expected by such an appointment are exacerbated not only by Waldo's murder but by other circumstances that Ramsay skillfully limns as he explores the conflicts and the growths (healthy and malignant) that evolve from it. Schwartz proves as adept at navigating the philosophical/religious waters as he is at handling the more conventional aspects of crime solving. The result is both a thought-provoking examination of serious pastoral issues and a thoroughly entertaining mystery that succeeds on all levels without recourse to bombast or carnage. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 07/18/2005
Release date: 08/01/2005
Paperback - 461 pages - 978-1-59058-189-6
Paperback - 289 pages - 978-1-59058-286-2
Paperback - 250 pages - 978-1-4642-0057-1
Open Ebook - 289 pages - 978-1-61595-167-3
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