MASS MURDER by John Keith Drummond


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 Murky doings at the Church of All Saints in the wine growing town of Jolliston, California, where seventy-something busybody Matilda Worthing is a parishioner. When Rector Leo Cantrell, young priest Hugh Barnes, and a choirboy are poisoned during a church ritual, Matilda is asked by Bishop Fisher, on the strength of her previous sleuthing success (Tis the Season to Be Dying), to help in the investigation. The rector and choirboy survive, Father Barnes does not. Meanwhile, pompous, ultraconservative Cantrell is heartily detested in many quartersespecially by the group putting on a play written by the church's unorthodox caretaker Julian Richardsa production the rector is determined to stop. Other forces are hinted ata local Satanic cult; a guilty secret in the life of Cantrell's wife Millicentbut Julian is soon arrested for the murder. Matilda, unconvinced, badgers all hands with questions (mostly about keys, locks, gates, doors, and timetables) but without results until a fresh slant and a second murder bring her to the real villainwell in the reader's wake. A meandering, tediously drawn-out plot is further undermined by lots of showoffy, unsparkling verbiage.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-312-05467-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1991