This is the third in the Lindsay Harding mystery series. The first was A Murder in Mount Moriah, and I seemed to have skipped the second and jumped right into this one. That’s OK. There was enough backstory throughout the book that it wasn’t strictly necessary to have read the second one.
I found this one a smidge disappointing in that the mystery didn’t appear until about halfway through the book. It dealt heavily with the aftermath of the events of the second book.
Let’s recap. Lindsay is a 31 year old chaplain who works for the local hospital. She has a sleezeball mother who spends her time in and out of jail, stealing from Lindsay when out, whining and pathetic when in. The mother has hooked up with an even sleezierball boyfriend named Leander Snoopes. Turns out, he is downright lowdown and dangerous. Her father, once he served his time for some kind of scam deal, has found Jesus, and is now a pastor of a local church. He and Lindsay have a shaky relationship as they try to rebuild.
In volume one, she got romantically involved with Warren, a blast from her highschool past who is now a police detective, but there appeared a cute doctor. In volume two, she found her grandmother, hitherto unknown to her, and Lindsay and her skanky mother and the feisty grandmother got shot by the nefarious Leander. Mom goes back to jail, grandmama ends up in hospital, and Lindsay plans to bring her home with her to live when she is out of physical rehab.
That brings us up to volume three, where that doctor is no longer in the picture and Warren, the detective declares his undying love for Lindsay, gives her a ring to which she becomes terribly allergic and almost loses her finger due to said allergy, she does her usual fear-of-commitment act, meets an almost-too-handsome-to-be-true dude, who turns out to be not what he seems, Lindsay’s father is caught in flagrante delicto with Warren’s mother, they declare they want to get married, Lindsay goes berserk over this, Warren dumps her, and she almost gets shot after being forced to dig her own grave by a psychopath.
The mystery, such as it was, turned around the Native American Lumbee Indians of the North Carolina area and the story of Henry Berry Lowrie, head of a band of Native American bandits. Most of that story is based on actual fact, with the author concocting an alternative ending. But the basics were that the gang had a big heist, and then Lowrie immediately disappeared, as did the money. The great grandson of a man who at that time was suspected of taking the money, is dying and wants to make amends, and the events of the novel take their cue from that.
It was fine. Just not much of a mystery, more of a woman’s book dealing with the personalities involved. So I am in agreement with Muriel St. Clare Byrne who said,
It has been said that a love interest is only an intrusion upon a detective story. But to the characters involved, the detective interest might well seem an irritating intrusion upon their love story.