cover image His Right Hand

His Right Hand

Mette Ivie Harrison. Soho Crime, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-61695-610-3

Harrison’s outstanding sequel to 2014’s The Bishop’s Wife focuses on a timely social issue. At the annual bishopric dinner, Linda Wallheim and her husband, Kurt, the LDS bishop of their ward in Draper, Utah, are dismayed by the critical, controlling way that Carl Ashby, Kurt’s second counselor, treats his wife, Emma. One night soon afterward, a distraught Emma phones Linda and Kurt to report that Carl is late coming home from a church meeting. Kurt and Linda drive over to the church, where they find Carl strangled with a woman’s scarf. The subsequent autopsy reveals that Carl was transgender. This revelation comes as a surprise to nearly everyone in the couple’s community, including Emma and their two high school–age children, both adopted. Higher-ups in the Mormon Church want to play down Carl’s secret past. Linda, as the ever-helpful bishop’s wife, tries not only to comfort Emma and her children but also to assist the police in the hunt for Carl’s killer. The suspect pool may be small, but Harrison once again dramatizes the agonizing plight of those who firmly believe church doctrine and yet by their nature have a fundamental conflict with it. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Dec.)