A blues-singing lawyer, an opera-loving priest and a loudmouthed talk-show host rock Halifax in this offbeat whodunit.
Befanee Tate, the former secretary from St. Bernadette’s, is in the midst of a wrongful-dismissal suit against the church when she claims to see the Virgin Mary near the statue of the church’s namesake. Pilgrims flock to the statue and salty-tongued Father Brennan Burke reluctantly appears on CTV’s Pike Podgis Show to discuss the supposed miracle. Instead, he makes a fool of Podgis. The TV host, a practitioner of scandal and shock journalism, creates plenty of both for himself when he’s arrested for the murder of Jordyn Snider, a prominent worshiper at St. Bernadette’s feet. Podgis can’t even get respect from his defense attorney, Father Burke’s friend Monty Collins, who nevertheless tries conscientiously to find an alternative explanation for Jordyn’s death. Father Burke, prevented by the seal of the confessional from telling all he knows, struggles to protect a street missionary implicated in the murder. Following Monty and Father Burke through the back streets, blues clubs and waterfront district of 1992 Halifax in search of the truth is an enjoyable quest, even though the tale would have benefited from adding a few minor resolutions and subtracting one melodramatic moment in Monty’s efforts to reunite his estranged family.
Emery (Cecilian Vespers, 2009, etc.) skillfully blends homicide with wit, music, theology, quirky characters and a Nova Scotian atmosphere.