Death on Sacred Ground, by Kathie Deviny

Death on Sacred Ground, Kathie Deviny, Grace Church, Mystery, Murder, Series
Paperback: $16.95
ISBN: 9781603817172
eBook: $5.99

Death on Sacred Ground, by Kathie Deviny

Seattle’s Grace Parish church, perched above the I-5 freeway in a historic neighborhood,
faces a financial crisis. Its once-tottering bell tower has been repaired, and its Memorial
Garden, the site of violent death, is once again a resting place for the ashes of the deceased of the parish. The Old Rectory, the scene of a subsequent murder, now honors the victim’s memory by serving as a drop-in center.

However, the church’s rector, Father Robert Vickers, knows that to keep the rest of the church standing, they need to develop the corner of the property, including the beloved Old Rectory and the well-used food bank. He doesn’t know if he has the fire to shepherd his flock through this next phase.

The first day back from his honeymoon, the fire department arrives to conduct an inspection of the rickety rectory, but are called away to investigate a cloud of smoke coming from a forested area above the freeway known as the ‘homeless jungle’. A body is discovered, stabbed to death, a visitor from Oregon associated with the environmental movement. Was it a random attack? An attempt to defend the jungle from outside influences? An effort to get city officials to act on the homeless problem. Or something else.

Detective Raymond Chen, who helped to investigate the previous deaths at the church, gets himself assigned to the case. He calls upon his friends there, including the formerly homeless Lester, now the church’s live-in caretaker. He also calls upon Arlis, the church bookkeeper and computer whiz. Through her, he connects with the moderator of a community blog, who is receiving messages from someone who may be the murderer.

The formerly homeless Lester, now a live-in caretaker at the church, disappears into the jungle to investigate, and to make sure that his friend Pete is safe. Pete mentors a group of Native American carvers who use knives like the one used in the murder. While Lester is gone, a second man is shot to death in the jungle, this time a casual laborer with a history of petty crime.

These events are followed in close succession by a threat to Robert and Molly, and also vandalism to a nearby ‘green street’, whose new plantings and benches have been destroyed.

Father Robert, encouraged by his new wife Molly, his low-sighted associate Rev. Catherine and other members of his quirky congregation, regains his spirit. Before retiring, he will need to bring together warring interest groups, and also join with his church and community companions to find the persons who have desecrated an area sacred to them all.

Death on Sacred Ground is the third book in the Grace Church Mystery series.

Kathie Deviny turned to writing after a career as social worker and criminal justice manager. As the wife of an Episcopal priest who served a downtown Seattle Parish, she is familiar with the issues raised in her mysteries. Her essays have appeared in Cure Today magazine, Bernie Siegel’s Faith Hope and Healing and Episcopal Voice. Kathie and her husband Paul divide their time between the northwest and California.

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