Death in the Memorial Garden, by Kathie Deviny: A Parish in Peril

An intrepid priest and his plucky flock resist the corporate wolves. But a lone wolf still lurks in the shadows….

Death in the Memorial Garden ($11.95, 152 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-899-5), is a cozy mystery by Kathie Deviny centering around a stray box of cremains.

** Click the cover image to order online **

…. or shop for it in your local Episcopalian bookstore. Click here for a store in Seattle.

** Also available in Kindle and in other eBook formats on Smashwords **

“Lovable characters, atmospheric charm, and sins from the past make this a must for brick & murder readers.”

—Mary Daheim, author of the Bed-and-Breakfast Mysteries and the Alpine/Emma Lord Mysteries

“A heart-warming story filled with likeable characters as they deal with murder, mishaps, and mayhem. An insightful view into the challenges faced by today’s urban churches. I look forward to the next murder at Grace Church.”

—Liz Osborne, author of Dirty Laundry, A Robyn Kelly Mystery

“Deviny had a challenge on her hands and she met it and exceeded it. With her character development, her take on a subject that is divisive with the Church, and solid pacing I’m looking forward to more installments with the other characters taking their turn in the spotlight. RECOMMENDED.”

–Vikki Walton, I Love a Mystery

5 Stars: “This book is so good it practically reads itself. Let me tell you a secret. I was very tired as I read this, but this book was so exciting that I could not sleep! I did not nod off once. If you like mysteries, this book is for you. It is practically squeaky clean, and it is enjoyable reading for a winter’s night.”

My Devotional Thoughts

“A fast-paced tale that has intrigue, mystery and humor all rolled up into a neat little story that takes place over a span of one week …. the storyline has surprising twist and turns coupled with satirical humor that will keep you engaged, and a quirky cast of characters who are a lot of fun.”

Jersey Girl Book Reviews

“I just loved following the day-to-day activities of this crazy group that is keeping Grace Church running on a wing and a prayer! Author Kathy Deviny does a great job creating three-dimensional characters, not only the aspects of them that play into the solving of the mystery but random miscellaneous traits that simply make them REAL.”

Words by Webb

“I did enjoy the casual nature of this story and it was short enough that I read it in one sitting. If you are looking for something to read while relaxing – this is the book. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.”

The Stuff of Success

“If you are a member of a small, older church, you will definitely relate to the characters of the altar guild, vestry and organist…. The book is humorous, satirical in the right places and a lively little read. I highly recommend it for a light afternoon read!” Click here to read more, as well as the blogger’s interview with Kathie Deviny.”
–Bless Their Hearts Mom

“A great cozy…. with a big mystery to solve and colorful characters. I look forward to reading her next book!”
Book Lovers Stop

5 Stars: “I love a nice, cozy mystery!  This novel had some wonderfully eccentric characters; Daniel the organist was my personal favorite.  Set in an Episcopalian church, the mystery is reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s ‘Miss Marple’ series, except this time, instead of villagers, we have church members.  Very nicely done; I hope this is the first in a series.”
The Self-Taught Cook

“There were many revelations, twists and turns that I was not expecting. Deviny weaves a charming mystery that can be read in one sitting.”
Wanted Readers Blogspot

“A very light-hearted mystery, not too much depth involved with the characters or the location. I would definitely recommend this to all readers of cozy mysteries.”

A Date with a Book

“A fun and quick read. It makes me smile to reflect on it!”

Beth Art from the Heart

“A fun, cozy mystery that combines two threads: a whodunit and a drive to save a valuable community resource …. A very quick read with characters who will capture your heart. It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon relaxing.”‘

Popcorn Reads

Just as the sexton is about to inter the ashes of one of Grace Church’s last wealthy patronesses in the Memorial Garden, he unearths a wine crate containing the ashes of an unknown. Next to the ashes is a distinctive pair of shoes. Not only are the woman’s relatives furious at the interruption, but they soon have grounds for a lawsuit: yet another piece of the church’s tower comes crashing to the ground.

With their congregation dwindling and their world literally falling in around them, Father Robert Vickers and his colorful staff members and volunteers put their heads together to solve the mystery of the anonymous ashes and find the means to save Grace Church from the developers … all in time for the Bishop’s visit.

Says Deviny, “I wrote an essay called, ‘Ashes, Ashes,’ in which I described the grassy courtyard between our church and its parish hall. To reserve a spot, you must agree that there will be no urn, and no marker other than your name on a plaque inside the church. After finishing the essay, I wondered, what would stop someone from performing a do-it-yourself burial when no one was watching? And what would happen if this was the same location pre-reserved by someone else, someone whose internment was today? And what if the pigeon lady and her flock decided to attend the service? And so this mystery was born.”

After retiring from a career as a “government bureaucrat” serving primarily in the criminal justice system, Kathie Deviny studied creative writing. Her essays have been published in the Seattle Times, Episcopal Life, Cure magazine, and Faith, Hope and Healing by Bernie Siegel. Kathie and her husband Paul divide their time between California and Western Washington. Death in the Memorial Garden is her first novel. Click here to find Kathie online.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

The obstacle, once unearthed, proved to be the size and shape of a wine crate. It was a wine crate, Robert Vickers realized. As a matter of fact, he told Raymond, the security officer, it was the same type of crate that held the sweet wine used by Grace Church for communion services. The top looked to have been removed and then crudely re-nailed.

“Good job, Henry! Now go to the tool closet and bring back a crowbar,” he ordered.

While they were waiting, the priest noticed that the number of food bank clients and other spectators had swelled and were spilling into the street. A man in a turban jostled against another sporting a suit and fedora. A woman wearing a long navy blue dress and veil was offering her potatoes to a Hawaiian-shirted fellow in exchange for his rice.

The babble of many languages rose on the rainy breeze, lending the scene the air of a modern-day Pentecost. All that was missing was the dove, although there were plenty of pigeons underfoot, hoping for a handout. Robert was not surprised to see the tall figure of Clare, known to all as the Pigeon Lady, among the crowd, swathed head to foot in a hooded brown robe.

Wherever she went, the pigeons followed, even though the Health Officer had persuaded her to stop feeding them. Robert also spotted Marjory, Clare’s caretaker, standing nearby and shaking her head as if to say, “What can I do?” Clare’s arms were outstretched, as if to bless them all, bird and human alike.

A baby-blue police cruiser poked its way up the street through the crowd. The vehicle stopped midstream, and then its door pushed open against the surrounding bodies. A curly blonde head and blue-clad torso emerged and loomed over the crowd. The patrol officer waded toward Raymond and Father Vickers, using her broad shoulders to part the waters. Once on the other side, she eyed the pile of dirt, the hole in the ground and the split box, and asked Raymond, “Well, well, Officer Chen. Got funeral duty today?”

“Very funny, Officer Hitchcock,” he replied, brown eyes meeting her baby blues. “What I’ve got is a big mess. Father Vickers here was trying to bury some remains when the gravedigger ran into this box.”

Joyce Hitchcock glanced around the garden area. “This doesn’t look like a graveyard to me.”

Robert intervened. “It’s a memorial garden, officer, consecrated for the purpose of interring the ashes of the deceased of this church. It’s—oh, it doesn’t matter—I want to find out what’s inside this box. We were just getting ready to open it.”

“But what if there’s a body inside?” croaked Henry the sexton, crowbar at the ready. Realizing from the quizzical looks he was receiving that a wine box wasn’t quite large enough for this purpose, he amended his question in a more forceful tone, “Well, what if there’s a body part inside?”

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