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The Rector--A Christian Murder Mystery
The Rector Late 1954, Solo, Mississippi, ten miles north of notorious Parchman Penitentiary— \tWhen Calvary Episcopal Church’s young rector dies of a heart attack, Martha McRae, a 42-year-old widow, becomes suspicious after she learns that the preacher had been intimately involved with her Bible study friend, Mary Magden Grater, married to the wealthy Capp Grater. Because of the affair, Martha suspects that Capp might have had a hand in the preacher’s death.       But Martha has a dilemma: Does she keep the affair (which is the motive for murder) a secret, and let a possible murderer go free? Or, does she reveal the secret, knowing that her friend’s unfortunate past as a prostitute will be exposed in a murder trial, destroying Mary and her child’s life? Martha is torn.       Meanwhile, the church’s new rector—Father Thomas Cain—arrives, and captivates everyone with his prosperity preaching and good works. But Martha and her friend, Johnny Johnson—a local bee farmer—aren’t convinced. They believe there’s more to this dynamic preacher than meets the eye.
Thompson’s engaging, high-energy Christian murder mystery is narrated by Martha McRae, a woman living in a small Mississippi town who seeks to solve the mystery of the sudden death of pastor David Baddour. Throughout the novel, readers are introduced to the cast of characters who inhabit the small Delta town in the 1950s. The book gleefully mixes all the elements of a small-town murder mystery—gossip, foul play, backstabbing—and, as more is revealed about Pastor Baddour and the other townspeople, more mysteries, hypocrisies, and dangers add to the intrigue. In spite of the danger McRae faces, she leaves no stone unturned. As she moves closer to solving the mystery, she must grapple with difficult truths about faith, honesty, sin, and redemption. With its exploration of small-town life in and close examination of the inhabitants of the town, Thompson’s tale looks intimately at what it means to function in a community—how a population can reveal and obscure the truth. Folded into the narrative are many Christian lessons, musings, and references, which can be interesting and edifying for some readers of faith. (BookLife)