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Friday, December 29, 2006

**** Let There Be Suspects by Emilie Richards. Mystery.

I'm reeeeaaallyy behind here, so comments are going to be fairly brief for the next little while.

Let There Be Suspects is my first introduction to this author's mystery books, but the second book in this Ministry is Murder series.

Heroine Aggie Sloan-Wilcox is a minister's wife. Apparently, in the preceding book, she was involved in a murder investigation, so she's in a bit of hot water with at least some members of her husband's congregation. Her sisters are in town for Christmas, as is her mother Junie, whose free-spirit ways endear her to her family, but might cause a few raised eyebrows.

Still, Aggie's dealing with everything well, until her mother's "surprise" arrives: Ginger, their manipulative erstwhile foster sister. Ginger is immediately up to her old ways, but Junie seems oblivious... until Ginger is discovered, murdered, at the outdoor nativity scene, and Aggie's sister Sid is the prime suspect.

The characters are entertaining and vivid, and the resolution of the mystery was logical and satisfying. The setting was realistic, as were the family dynamics. Aggie's family is neither too good to be true nor so quirky that they're cartoonish. I particularly appreciated the portrayal of the small neighborhood church, as a nice change from the judgmental hypocrisy that shows up all too often.

I'm not sure how Aggie will fare over a longer series--it's a small town, and that's always tricky in a mystery series--you start thinking the town's a death trap. But for now, it's a fun, light read, and a nicely seasonal one.


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