The Church of England has a major public relations problem when a candidate for bishop is murdered.
The sleuthing duo of Dorothy Martin and Alan Nesbitt (Shadows of Death, 2014, etc.) become involved because Alan is on the committee charged with selecting the new bishop of their much-loved Sherebury Cathedral. Dorothy is an expat American with a talent for solving puzzles, her husband an ex–chief constable who finds himself on the list of suspects. The murdered man, archconservative Dean Brading, went through the customary vetting process, but when Dorothy and Alan start to dig deeper into his past, some decidedly insalubrious facts come to light. Because the three remaining candidates share an obvious motive, both the police and Dorothy and Alan visit them, all trying to catch a hint that any of them might want the job badly enough to kill. Their least favorite candidate, the Rev. Mr. Lovelace, is a charismatic speaker who leaves the real work of his post to his assistants. His lifestyle makes Dorothy and Alan suspicious enough to send their friend Walter to be part of his entourage as an undercover volunteer. Walter promptly vanishes. So does Lovelace, who surfaces only in death, a possible suicide. The couple’s visits to the other two candidates reveal them as more promising bishops but less likely murderers. Although there is much debate in the church over candidates from such different ends of the ideological spectrum, Dorothy makes a breakthrough when she recalls Hercule Poirot’s advice about seeking motives in the victim’s personal life.
Anglophile Dams adds another comfortable cozy to her collection of paeans to all things British.