Friday, September 9, 2011

Liturgical Mystery #2

The Baritone Wore ChiffonThe Baritone Wore Chiffon by Mark Schweizer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hayden Konig is the police chief of St. Germaine, a small North Carolina town.  He's also the volunteer choir director/organist of the local Episcopal church, and an aspiring writer whose literary muse is Raymond Chandler.  In this second "Liturgical Mystery", Konig is asked to assist English police in the investigation into the death of a visiting "songman" at York Minster.  Hayden travels to York where he discovers some key evidence.  When he returns from England, a new interim priest has been installed at the church, along with a Presbyterian Christian Ed director.  It's Lent, and Hayden's significant other has asked him not to undermine the new staff.  So it's hands off, as the hapless congregation is subjected to a Clown Eucharist, an Edible Last Supper, the incomparable Feng Shui Altar Guild led by the rector's wife, and the insufferable ego of the new priest who favors high church processions led by his valet/verger Wenceslas who is proud of being a dwarf.  I don't know what events made me laugh more:  Rev. Barna's first attempt at a children's moment, with Moosy as the star pupil or the Feng Shui Altar Guild's constant rearranging of the altar and pews.  Hayden's Comparative Religion lectures are also a terrific counterpoint to the "Finding Your Inner Clown" classes led by Brenda, the Christian Ed. director.  Eventually the murder in England and the new leadership at the church are connected, and Hayden is the one who sorts everything out.  The added bonus to this series is the "novel" that Hayden writes and shares as the main story evolves.  This series is a terrific way to unwind, and anyone who is familiar with church politics and organization will chuckle!

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