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More murder along the Gray Line tour route: a controversial Episcopal priest is killed--well, you know where. Truman, who usually ditches her detectives after one outing, resurrects widowed legal eagle Mackensie Smith and redhaired gallery owner Annabel Reed from Murder at the Kennedy Center for matrimony (the book's opening scene) and sleuthing. When the body of handsome, liberal Canon Paul Singletary, who officiated at their wedding, is discovered in a tiny all-night chapel in the vast Cathedral just an hour before the scheduled funeral of a former Attorney General, Bishop George St. James calls on Mac for help. His investigation leads in two directions--to England, where Singletary had just been on an unsuccessful mission for his Word of Peace organization, and back to the Cathedral, where the mutually hostile suspects include romantically-inclined Canon Carolyn Armstrong, mentally unstable Canon Jonathon Merle, and explosive choirmaster Wilfred Nickelson. Flying to London for a belated honeymoon, Mac and Annabel find evidence of M 15 infiltration of Word for Peace as a subversive organization: meet frustration when Singletary's mistress Clarissa Morgan won't talk to them; hear about a second murder victim (another priest killed the same way in the Cotswolds): and nearly provide a third (Annabel's attacked by a homicidal equestrienne). After the usual interminably irrelevant scenes, a drawn-out sequence leads to an unwitting convergence of Mac, Annabel, a key witness to the murder, and all the leading suspects back in the Cathedral one dark and stormy night. It sounds as if all the subplots will come together too, but Truman loyalists won't be fooled. Average for the series--not as good as the first few, better than most recent entries--with an unusually strong sense of place. The series itself lost its novelty long ago, but so did Howard Johnson's, and they've been turning a profit--though perhaps a smaller one than Truman--even longer.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1990
Publisher: Random House