> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review and ebook Giveaway: Death in the Memorial Garden by Kathie Deviny
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Book Review and ebook Giveaway: Death in the Memorial Garden by Kathie Deviny

Welcome to our stop on the Death in the Memorial Garden, book blog tour!
I hope you read Kathy's earlier Guest Post as well!

Death in the Memorial Garden book tour logo

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.

Quick Interview:
Q. How does life imitate art in your book, i.e. your life as pastor's wife, your husband dealing with vestry, etc?

A. As the spouse of the rector, I've been in a unique position to observe the inner workings of our parishes and their members.  I haven't been a voyeur, more a participant observer, through over thirty years of Sunday services, special services, choir practice, coffee hours, bazaars, teas, picnics, pancake suppers, animal blessings, barbeques - you get the picture. 
So yes, I have had run ins with shovel-wielding sextons, cheeky churchyard campers, detractors, benefactors, and even a few saints.  There's an exchange in the mystery in which Father Vickers hears about two homeless guys sitting on a steam grate watching a video on their laptop. I observed this myself a few blocks from church, but hesitated to include because it sounded far-fetched.  As it turns out, many street people are now foregoing  housing, alcohol, food and other necessities to keep their cell phone.  I wonder, as does Fr. Vickers, where they charge the batteries.
Q. More books are in the works?   

A. Yes, I have begun a second in the series, and hope to continue if this first sells a few copies.

Review: This is an adorable book that is a super quick read- I read it in about 2 hours! The story takes place basically in one week. If you are a member of a small, older church, you will definitely relate to the characters of the altar guild, vestry and organist! This is the author's first book, and I can easily see a series coming out of the characters in this one. The book is humorous, satirical in the right places and a lively little read. I highly recommend it for a light afternoon read! 

Read an excerpt:

The obstacle, once unearthed, proved to be the size and shape of a wine crate. It was a wine crate, Robert Vickers realized. As a matter of fact, he told Raymond, the security officer, it was the same type of crate that held the sweet wine used by Grace Church for communion services. The top looked to have been removed and then crudely re-nailed. 

“Good job, Henry! Now go to the tool closet and bring back a crowbar,” he ordered. 

While they were waiting, the priest noticed that the number of food bank clients and other spectators had swelled and were spilling into the street. A man in a turban jostled against another sporting a suit and fedora. A woman wearing a long navy blue dress and veil was offering her potatoes to aThe babble of many languages rose on the rainy breeze, lending the scene the air of a modern-day Pentecost. All that was missing was the dove, although there were plenty of pigeons underfoot, hoping for a handout. Robert was not surprised to see the tall figure of Clare, known to all as the Pigeon Lady, among the crowd, swathed head to foot in a hooded brown robe. 

Wherever she went, the pigeons followed, even though the Health Officer had persuaded her to stop feeding them. Robert also spotted Marjory, Clare’s caretaker, standing nearby and shaking her head as if to say, “What can I do?” Clare’s arms were outstretched, as if to bless them all, bird and human alike. 

A baby-blue police cruiser poked its way up the street through the crowd. The vehicle stopped midstream, and then its door pushed open against the surrounding bodies. A curly blonde head and blue-clad torso emerged and loomed over the crowd. The patrol officer waded toward Raymond and Father Vickers, using her broad shoulders to part the waters. Once on the other side, she eyed the pile of dirt, the hole in the ground and the split box, and asked Raymond, “Well, well, Officer Chen. Got funeral duty today?” 

“Very funny, Officer Hitchcock,” he replied, brown eyes meeting her baby blues. “What I’ve got is a big mess. Father Vickers here was trying to bury some remains when the gravedigger ran into this box.” 

Joyce Hitchcock glanced around the garden area. “This doesn’t look like a graveyard to me.” 

Robert intervened. “It’s a memorial garden, officer, consecrated for the purpose of interring the ashes of the deceased of this church. It’s—oh, it doesn’t matter—I want to find out what’s inside this box. We were just getting ready to open it.” 

“But what if there’s a body inside?” croaked Henry the sexton, crowbar at the ready. Realizing from the quizzical looks he was receiving that a wine box wasn’t quite large enough for this purpose, he amended his question in a more forceful tone, “Well, what if there’s a body part inside?” Hawaiian-shirted fellow in exchange for his rice.

About the AuthorAfter retiring from a career as a “government bureaucrat” serving primarily in the criminal justice system, Kathie Deviny studied creative writing. Essays focusing on her treatment for breast cancer and life as the spouse of an Episcopal priest have been published in the Seattle Times, Episcopal Life, Cure magazine, andFaith, Hope and Healing by Bernie Siegel.
Kathie was Features Editor of her high school newspaper and originally planned a career in journalism. After realizing she was too shy to chase after stories, she followed her mother’s career path and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work, attending UC Berkeley and the University of Washington. She nurtured her journalistic ambitions by developing a program at the Monroe, WA, prison which produced a magazine in cooperation with community volunteers.

Death in the Memorial Garden, her first work of fiction, reflects her love of the cozy-style mystery. Her other loves are gardening, choral singing, and locating bargains at her church’s thrift shop, where she volunteers. Kathie lives with her now-retired husband, Paul; they divide their time between California and Western Washington.

I am thrilled to be able to offer an ebook of Death in the Memorial Garden to a lucky BTHM reader!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for additional Guest Posts and Giveaways:

Tour Host Participants
November 1: Review ~ Kriss @ Cabin Goddess
November 2: Review ~ Melissa @ Mochas, Mysteries and More
November 5: Review ~ Mary @ Mary's Cup of Tea  
November 6: Review & Guest Post ~ Nicole @ Bless Their Hearts Mom 
November 7: Review ~ Paula @ Book Lover Stop 
November 7: Review ~ Jo @ Writers and Authors 
November 8: Review ~ Ashna @ Wanted Readers
November 9: Review ~ Dalene @ A Date with a Book 
November 12: Review & Guest Post ~ Beth @ Beth Art From the Heart 
November 13: Review ~ Misty @ The Top Shelf 
November 14: Review & Guest Post ~ Kathleen @  Jersey Girl Book Reviews 
November 15: Review ~  Teena @ Teena in Toronto
November 16: Review ~ Merikay @ Popcorn Reads
November 17: Interview ~ Kriss @ Cabin Goddess
November 19: Review ~ Meg @ Time Discovers Truth 
November 20: Review ~ Suzie @ The Bunny's Review 
November 21: Review ~ Bev @ My Reader's Block 
November 23: Review ~ Cami @ Love. Pray. Read.
November 24: Review ~ Tammy @ The Self-Taught Cook
November 28: Review ~ Ruth @ My Devotional Thoughts 

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book for review purposes on this blog, free of charge, from the author, via Partners in Crime..No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it. 


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