Preaching to the Corpse
by Roberta Isleib

Berkley Prime Crime, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-425-21837-2.
Reviewed by Sharon Wildwind
Posted on 12/13/2007
Review of the Month, January 2008

Fiction: Mystery

Ever have one of those Christmases? Your church is in the middle of a vitriolic search for a new minister. Your pastor is suspected of murder. You have the hots for a married man. Your family is in the middle of its usual Christmas frenzy, complicated this year by your desire to find the father who deserted you as a child. And to top it all off, you have either the cold from hell or the second case of whooping cough reported in your part of the state in forty years.

Welcome to Rebecca Butterman's Christmas. "Preaching to the Corpse" is the second in Roberta Isleib's advice column series. Those of you who know her golfing series will be equally pleased with this new heroine, who lives in a small Connecticut town. Rebecca gets co-opted into replacing a murdered member of her church congregation on the minister-search committee. As she delves deeper into the selection process, Rebecca—an intermittent church-goer—discovers that what happens in the congregation is a matter of life and death for someone.

This book has everything I love about traditional mysteries. Good, tight writing. A strong but far-from-perfect heroine. More secrets than sprinkles on Christmas cookies. A plot that flows smoothly from "What can all this possibly mean?" to "I think I know who did it" to "No, don't go there, all alone, without telling someone, this close to the end of the book!"

This would be a great book to find in your stocking on Christmas morning. If you end up with oranges and candy canes instead, you can always use a gift certificate for the local bookstore to pick up a copy for yourself.

Roberta Isleib is a clinical psychologist and a mystery writer. She is the current president of Sisters in Crime, and previously published a golf lover's mystery series, which was nominated for both Agatha and Anthony Awards. Visit her website.

Check out our interview with the author of Preaching to the Corpse.

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