Death in the Memorial Garden
Author: Kathy Deviny
Hardcover: 141 pages (also available in e-formats)
Publisher: Camel Press (October 15, 2012)
Just as the sexton is about to inter the ashes of one of Grace Church’s last wealthy patronesses in the Memorial Garden, he unearths a wine crate containing the ashes of an unknown. Next to the ashes is a distinctive pair of shoes. Not only are the woman’s relatives furious at the interruption, but they soon have grounds for a lawsuit: yet another piece of the church’s tower comes crashing to the ground.
With their congregation dwindling and their world literally falling in around them, Father Robert Vickers and his colorful staff members and volunteers put their heads together to solve the mystery of the anonymous ashes and find the means to save Grace Church from the developers … all in time for the Bishop’s visit.
I would have read Death in the Memorial Garden even without a murder…I just loved following the day-to-day activities of this crazy group that is keeping Grace Church running on a wing and a prayer! Author Kathy Deviny does a great job creating three-dimensional characters, not only the aspects of them that play into the solving of the mystery but random miscellaneous traits that simply make them REAL. The characters of this book felt very familiar…perhaps I met them at my church? And I have a feeling that the way the characters become instant friends will have many readers returning for the next adventure at Grace Church.
If I had to describe the plot of this book in one word (or is it two?) I would say spiderweb (spider web?). This is not a simple clothesline of a plot where we follow along as the detective searches for clues and uncovers the criminal. No, Death in the Memorial Garden has plots stretching out in every direction.
Where is the organist’s mysterious missing father? Why is Clare fascinated by birds and who is she? What’s the deal with the shoes and unidentified ashes found at church? Who is tossing boulders at the parishoners? Will the mourners sue the church? Does the Bishop want to save Grace Church or destroy it? Will the mega-developers turn Grace Church into a gentrified neighborhood? Will the pastor find true love? So many questions, so much going on — just like life!
Giveaway: Thanks to Kathie and Partners in Crime Blog Tours for an e-copy to giveaway. If you’d like to win a copy just leave a comment after this post by December 6. The winner will be announced on Friday, December 7. And if you want to improve your chances of winning a book, jump on the tour and enter to win at several blogs! Here’s the schedule!
5Ws with Kathie Deviny
Who would you like to meet if you could meet one cozy mystery author (dead or alive)?
She may not strictly qualify as a cozy author, but Lousie Penny, who writes the Inspecter Gamache series, is a favorite. The artistic residents of her Canadian village, Lone Pine, have fascinating personality flaws, and her Montreal characters, including the Inspector’s family and his police colleagues are equally well drawn, and in some cases are deeply and murderously flawed.
Why did you decide to take the plunge and write Death in the Memorial Garden?
I had been writing nonficion articles essys and memoir, and wanted to tackle my topics in more depth and with greater flexibility. I decided to tackle the mystery form as a project for an ongoing creative writing class. That provided me with professional guidance from the instructor as well as immediate reaction from my classmates/readers. I also joined a writers group which provided even more feedback as I wrote draft after draft.
What is the most difficult thing about writing? The most rewarding?
For me the biggest challenge is plotting, and providing enough sensory detail a close second. Dialogue and characterization come most easily.
When did you connect with Camel Press?
I contacted them a little over a year ago on the recommendaton of a writing friend. They are locally based, provide wonderful hands-on service, and have been able to bring the book to publication in a remarkably short time.
Where will you be taking us in your next book? Back to Washington?
I plan to stay in Seattle in the immediate location of Grace Church. The next book will focus on the church’s on-site food bank.