Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review: Become Enthralled by Early Church History In Murder Mystery!

A piece of public artwork in brass called the ...Image via Wikipedia

Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

A Very Private Grave

Donna Fletcher Crow

I must say that the first thing I did after reading Donna Fletcher Crow's historical novel, A Very Private Grave was to check the Wikipedia and see if there really was a Saint Cuthbert. And yes, he really did live from 633 to 687 AD.

Not being a great history enthusiast nor a member of the Catholic Church, I had wanted to read the book for the mystery, so I was not expecting what I found!

A Very Private Grave (The Monastery Murders)From the very first I was enthralled with this literary gem. Yes, there is a mystery--in order to solve the mystery, readers are led through the life and travels of Saint Cuthbert. But the author has done an outstanding job in pacing so that the history we are learning is provided as the next "clue" and, in that way, the author successfully captures and retains the total interest of her readers--or at least this one!

The two main characters are a young intelligent American female student, Felicity, and her history professor,

In fact, it is to Felicity that Father Dominic entrusts his work diary, filled with notes and scriblings--just before he was murdered!

Felicity had been friends with the Father since she had entered the College of the Transfiguration which, as she admitted, she had chosen to attend in a moment of insanity. That day, Father Dominic did not stay since he was to assist in the Ash Wednesday ceremony...

But he never arrived...

Felicity hurried back to her room and found it had been vandalized, searched. She thought it was just other students, so continued on with her original plan, picked up a book of poetry for the Father and went to see if he had gone to his room, perhaps not feeling well. She found Father Antony, her history lecturer, standing with bloody hands over her beloved Father Dominic's body! Her first reaction was that her friend had been murdered--by her teacher!

And Indeed later, after the initial police investigation was over, and Felicity and Father Antony were charged with finding out what had happened by the school principal. Only before they were ready to start, a message was sent to them that the police were going to arrest Father Antony and that they were to leave immediately to conduct their assigned work. Only to be followed by Jonathan Breen--welcomed by Felicity to whom Jonathan immediately began paying much attention--and mistrusted by Father Antony.

Father Antony had become somewhat dissatisfied with his life. One major issue was whether or not he would further commit to the church and adopt celibacy as his lifestyle. As he traveled with the beautiful young and enthusiastic Felicity, he became more and more troubled about his future, especially realizing that he was jealous of Breen's relationship with Felicity.

Aside from the love triangle that seemed to be developing, there was danger on the route Father Dominic had traveled, murder attempts against Felicity and murders of individuals they had met along the way. Father Antony took much time to teach Felicity about the historical background of their travels and while she thought it was totally unnecessary to solve the murder, little by little she was learning and putting facts together until they were able to put together a potential list of those who might have killed Father Dominic.

Because Father Dominic had definitely been excited about potential money being found to help him with his hunger to help the children in Africa who were suffering from AIDS. And finally the clues pointed to the possibility that he knew where treasure had been hidden, together with the body of Saint Cuthbert. But his body was not where everybody thought it was...

The mystery portion of this reads like a Sherlock Holmes type of story, as the religious church doctrine and history are explored, examined and used to arrive at the answers. You will be taught, entertained, and totally drawn into the mystery of where the body of a holy man, and his treasure, lies. Don't miss this one; it is not only highly recommended, but will soon be followed by A Darkly Hidden Truth which will continue with Felicity and Father Antony... Get A Very Private Grave and be prepared when Book 2 is announced!

Book Received Via
Book Giveaway Contest

G. A. Bixler

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  1. Oh, my goodness, Glenda--what a wonderful review! Thank you so much for the extra research you did and for the cool pictures! I notice you posted a link to the College of the Transfiguration. Although little in my story is fictional (except the murders, of course) my college is actually a thinly veiled version of the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield. your readers can see the real thing here:
    Thank you so much for introducing me to your readers and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  2. It is great to have feedback from the author! It was great to first win your book...and then to find so much more that what I thought would be a cozy mystery...Father Antony is one fine lecturer (AKA DFC)!

    Best wishes with your marketing efforts!