Friday, May 27, 2011

The Reluctant Detective by Martha Ockley

Move over Miss Marple; the Reverend Faith Morgan has joined the ranks of the next big, hot, new... clerical detective!  A clerical detective is, according to Philip Grosset, "Any detective with a significant church or religious back ground." Check out his web site at It's really fun!

Martha Ockley has taken this genre by storm (or at least a good English rainfall).

Faith, a former policewoman, now a priest in the Church of England, becomes involved in the investigation of the murder of a fellow priest- the same priest who was about to retire from his parish in the village of Little Worthy and whose place Faith is being considered as the replacement vicar.  Complications arise when her ex boyfriend, Ben Shorter is the chief inspector on the case.

Faith's epiphany of, well, faith was a factor in her break up with Ben, whose style of police work values convictions (guilty ones) over, perhaps, convictions of a more heavenly kind.

I really liked Faith's character.  Whereas  Ben focuses on being right, Faith is challenged to seek the truth.  She wears a clerical "dog collar" as part of her new found vocation.  Ben carries a badge.  Both are symbolic of stands taken and sacrifices made.  Faith is not above being tempted by Ben's magnetism (and who wouldn't be?).  Her new found purpose as shepherd of this winsome flock of regular people and the comfort of the unwavering doctrine of the cross is strong; but she wonders: is it strong enough to handle all this?

This book was a delightful discovery and I look forward to more Faith Morgan Mysteries.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Reluctant Detective
Monarch Books (April 30, 2011)
Martha Ockley


Martha Ockley is the pen-name of Rebecca Jenkins. She read history at Oxford University, and spent several years working alongside her father, the Rt. Revd. David Jenkins (Bishop of Durham 1984-94) during the turbulence of the 1980s. She lives in Teesdale in the North East of England where the landscape and history provide the inspiration for her Regency detective, F R Jarrett. Since September 2009 she has been Royal Literary Fund Fellow and Writer in Residence at York St John University. She is a full-time author, writing both fiction and non-fiction. (She should not be confused with a Canadian actor and singer, also called Rebecca Jenkins.)  


The Reluctant Detective sees Faith Morgan arriving back in the region of her birth - Winchester in Hampshire. Recently ordained, she had been working as a curate in an Anglican inner-city church. Within an hour of her arrival at Little Worthy, she witnesses the sudden shocking death of a fellow priest during a communion service at St James's. He had been poisoned with a pesticide mixed with the communion wine. The senior police officer who arrives at the scene turns out to be Detective Inspector Ben Shorter, Faith's ex long-term boyfriend.

She is urged by the Bishop to stay on to look after the parish of Little Worthy. As she meets her parishioners she learns some surprising facts about her apparently well loved predecessor, and starts to suspect a motive for his death. And it is she who finally identifies the murderer.

The story gets off to a dramatic start with the previous vicar collapsing as soon as he drank the communion cup, and it holds the interest throughout. There is some romantic interest too. Inspector Ben Shorter starts by sneeringly telling his sergeant, "Ms Morgan is a vicar. One of the ordained," Ben emphasized the word. “She's a card-carrying professional at the touchy-feely stuff.” But he soon starts to feel differently about her again, although she is well aware that he "didn't understand the reality she experienced through her faith. He didn't even recognize its existence. That was the gulf between them." Her own beliefs and doubts are convincingly described, for even she can't help wondering, "What if there is no truth to it?" But for her, as for Pascal before her, it was a gamble worth taking.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Reluctant Detective, go HERE


Shanda said...

Heading over to look at your first chapter. Looks like a fun and interesting read.
Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Cheryl Klarich said...

You are so welcome, Shanda. I really enjoyed this book! I love cozy mysteries and this one had some edge to it. I want to move into the little English village... Stone cottages... be still my heart!

Elle Strauss said...

Sounds like a fun read!

Cheryl Klarich said...

Hi Elle! Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Memorial Day week end- blessings!!

Katie Ganshert said...

Sounds fun! What a great review.

Thanks for the follow on my blog. I'm looking forward to connecting more. :)

Elsa said...

Hi Katie. Welcome to Writing Remnants!

Everyone, check out Katie's blog. It's bright and inspiring!