Tag Archives: Martha Ockley

If You Liked . . . Hidden Currents

30 Nov

Hidden Currents by Christy Barritt was BTB’s selection in November. It had mixed reviews from my book club members, although most enjoyed this mystery. If you like Barritt’s mysteries or are just a fan of the mystery genre, you need to check out the following recommendations. I loved them! And each is part of a series, so there’s plenty of great reading.

The Cantaloupe Thief by Deb Richardson-Moore

A murder mystery set in NE Georgia, USA, and featuring a reporter, Branigan Powers, who is commissioned to investigate a cold case, an unsolved murder of a wealthy widow ten years previously. She enlists the help of Malachi Ezekiel Martin, a homeless man who is both a possible suspect and a possible sleuth: the idea being that homeless people get overlooked, and hence see things that are concealed from the rest of the population. This is the first in an intended series of novels featuring Branigan, Malachi, and Branigan’s friend Liam, who runs a shelter for the homeless.

Miranda Warning by Heather Day Gilbert

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her. But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox — a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting — Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer…or the next victim might be Tess herself. Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.

The Reluctant Detective by Martha Oakley

Former cop Faith Morgan may have quit the world of crime, but crime has not let her go. Now a priest in the Church of England, she is assigned to the improbably named village of Little Worthy, and within an hour of her arrival she witnesses the sudden, shocking death of a fellow priest. To her distress, the detective assigned to the case is Ben, her former partner and former boyfriend.

As she meets her parishioners she learns some surprising details about her apparently well-loved predecessor, and starts to suspect a motive for his death. The cop may have donned a clerical collar, but the questions keep coming. How will she reconcile her present calling with her past instincts? Is she in danger herself? What should she do about Ben?

Top 10 Tuesday: Books for Lovers of British Mysteries (+ A Canadian Cousin)

15 Aug

Top 10 Tuesday is back! Yay! The folks at The Broke And The Bookish had some well-deserved time off, but now they are back with great topics for book lovers. This week I’m talking about book recommendations for lovers of British mysteries. I love a good mystery and have found the following books to meet all the requirements — puzzling cases set in the British Isles. They run the gamut from historical and contemporary, amateur detectives and police procedurals, to urban and bucolic settings. Ironically, a couple of the series, while definitely having a British vibe, are authored by Americans. All are excellent!

Top Book Recommendations for Lovers of British Mysteries

+ A Canadian Cousin

(please note there may be more books in these series than are pictured)

The Aiden Mysteries by Fay Sampson

 

The Blitz Detective by Mike Hollow

 

The Drew Farthering Mysteries by Julianna Deering

 

The Faith Morgan Mysteries by Martha Ockley

 

A Father Gilbert Mystery by Paul McCusker

 

The Monastery Murders by Donna Fletcher Crow

 

A Mystery for D. I. Costello by Elizabeth Flynn

 

Poppy Denby Investigates by Fiona Veitch Smith

 

A Canadian Cousin!

The Herringford And Watts Mysteries by Rachel McMillan

 

What are some of your favorite mysteries?

 

Top Ten Tuesday — Best Christmas Novellas

13 Sep

Thanks to the folks at The Broke And The Bookish for hosting Top 10 Tuesday every week. This week’s theme is Favorite Genres. To find out what other bloggers love to read, click HERE.

 

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It’s September and while Pumpkin Everything is popping up, the temperatures here in Middle Georgia are still in the 90s. It may be a bit hot, but when the calendar says it’s Fall, I like to begin my Christmas reading. Every year I look for a Christmas fix in books. Here is a list of some great books to read to get you in the Christmas mood, no matter the date or temperature! I’ve divided them into categories, although there is some crossover, so that you can pick the best for your mood and tastes.

Top Christmas Novellas

 

Historic and Nostalgic Christmas

The Christmas Pony by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Star by Ace Collins

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Remembering Christmas by Daniel Walsh

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Suspenseful And Mysterious Christmas

Holy Night by Colleen Coble

Silent Night by Colleen Coble

Advent of Murder by Martha Oakley

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Romantic Christmas

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere

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Christmas with Dogs And Cats

The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson

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Funny Christmas

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

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Heartwarming Christmas

A Redbird Christmas by Fanny Flagg

A Christmas Journey Home by Kathi Macias

Unexpected Christmas Hero by Kathi Macias

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What’s Your Favorite Christmas Book?

 

Book Review: A Saintly Killing

21 Jan

Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? Matthew 18:21

640912Faith Morgan is feeling settled and contented in her role as the vicar of Little Worthy. St James’s is about to reach its 900th anniversary and to celebrate Faith has commissioned a new painting of the church from distinguished local artist Sal Hinkley.

However, Sal, recently returned from Australia, is not a universally popular choice: outspoken and opinionated, she has made her share of enemies.

Before the painting can be completed, Sal is found dead at her easel. Suddenly, several respectable members of the church community are under suspicion and Faith finds herself thrown into the path of her former flame, Detective Inspector Ben Shorter, who, though he has no time for God-botherers, still seems to have time for Faith . . . 

 

ockleyMartha Ockley is the pen-name of Rebecca Jenkins. She read history at Oxford University, and spent several years working alongside her father, the Rt. Revd. David Jenkins (Bishop of Durham 1984-94) during the turbulence of the 1980s. She lives in Teesdale in the North East of England where the landscape and history provide the inspiration for her Regency detective, F R Jarrett. Since September 2009 she has been Royal Literary Fund Fellow and Writer in Residence at York St John University. She is a full-time author, writing both fiction and non-fiction.

 

My Impressions:

A Saintly Killing is the 3rd book in Martha Ockley’s Faith Morgan Mystery series. You can read my reviews of the previous 2 books by clicking on the following titles — The Reluctant Detective and The Advent of Murder. The series protagonist, Faith Morgan, is a vicar who serves the church of St. James in the small English village of Little Worthy. She left her former life as a policewoman to serve God, however, murders keep turning up and she is soon swept into the investigations.

The third book finds Faith preparing for the 900th anniversary celebration of the historic church. In the midst of the preparations a murder occurs that has Faith struggling with her role as comforter and spiritual leader and her inclinations to find out whodunit. Adding to her troubles are her former romantic interest, DI Shorter, and her family’s struggle with her mother who has been newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. But Faith is a capable woman who can juggle all aspects of her life, including murder investigations.

A Saintly Killing is an interesting murder mystery with lots of likely suspects with myriad motives. The victim is widely disliked for her temperamental attitude and her disregard for others. And while the mystery is the catalyst for the story, it is Faith’s struggles that kept me engaged. She is a realistic and complex character that a reader can easily identify with. A central theme to this book is forgiveness and repentance. I found it interesting that Faith is sometimes reluctant to forgive, going as far as suggesting that forgiveness can be withheld if the other party isn’t sorry. Although not very Biblical, this is an idea that can lead to bitterness and unresolved grief — an insidious evil in Little Worthy.

A Saintly Killing is a very British novel in setting, style and language. It kept me guessing until almost the end, which I really like. I want to be challenged by a mystery. The author leaves a few loose ends, so I am hoping there are more Faith Morgan stories in the future.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: The Reluctant Detective

12 Aug

640684Former cop Faith Morgan may have quit the world of crime, but crime has not let her go. Now a priest in the Church of England, she is assigned to the improbably named village of Little Worthy, and within an hour of her arrival she witnesses the sudden, shocking death of a fellow priest. To her distress, the detective assigned to the case is Ben, her former partner and former boyfriend.

As she meets her parishioners she learns some surprising details about her apparently well-loved predecessor, and starts to suspect a motive for his death. The cop may have donned a clerical collar, but the questions keep coming. How will she reconcile her present calling with her past instincts? Is she in danger herself? What should she do about Ben?

ockleyMartha Ockley is the pen-name of Rebecca Jenkins. She read history at Oxford University, and spent several years working alongside her father, the Rt. Revd. David Jenkins (Bishop of Durham 1984-94) during the turbulence of the 1980s. She lives in Teesdale in the North East of England where the landscape and history provide the inspiration for her Regency detective, F R Jarrett. Since September 2009 she has been Royal Literary Fund Fellow and Writer in Residence at York St John University. She is a full-time author, writing both fiction and non-fiction.

 

My Impressions:

The Reluctant Detective is the first book in the Faith Morgan Mystery series by Martha Ockley. I read and reviewed book 2, The Advent of Murder, last year, so I was eager to go back to the beginning of Faith’s journey as a member of the clergy following her career in the police. What I found was an interesting and puzzling mystery and an even more interesting and complex character in Faith. If you are looking for a cozy mystery that has more depth than the standard fluff often found in the genre, then check this novel out.

The Reluctant Detective opens with the murder of Alistair Ingram as he performs the communion rite. The shocking crime for the parish of St. James in the quiet village of Little Worthy propels Faith into the midst of the community and the investigation. Former boss and lover, Detective Ben Shorter grudgingly includes Faith in his quest for the murderer, but Faith is the reluctant one. Just how can she serve the people of her congregation while viewing everyone through a lens of distrust and suspicion?

I really liked the characters in The Reluctant Detective. They exhibit real life emotions, doubts and fears. Main character Faith is the most developed, but secondary characters are fleshed out as well. The mystery keeps the reader thinking and guessing, and though I figured out just whodunit, it was only a few pages before it was actually revealed. But I think the best part of this novel is the juxtaposition of earthly crime and punishment and the eternal mysteries of God’s love and grace. Faith struggles with justice and mercy in the face of sin. The novel is also very British and should appeal to fans of the classic English mystery novel. I found The Reluctant Detective a quick and satisfying read.

Recommended.

Audience: Adults

(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.